"Our Hearts Are Restless Until They Rest in Thee, O Lord"
n this Sunday's readings we see that frequently the people who are written off as "unworthy" or "second class" have a certain humility about them that enables them to respond with love and generosity to God. Unpretentiousness seems to provide fertile ground for God's word to take root.
The first reading from the prophet Jonah tells the story of how Jonah was totally put off by God's invitation to call the Ninevites to conversion. He even tried to flee from God's call and found himself in a whale of trouble. However, Jonah was met with a totally unexpected response from these "wretched" Ninevites. . They actually turned their lives around when he relayed to them God's invitation to change.
In the Gospel, we find Jesus continuing to call his disciples, just as he began doing in last week’s selection from John. The people he calls are similar to the Ninevites, in that these men came from menial professions like fishing, they were without education, and still had many rough edges. Few people would have expected that Jesus would have turned to the shores of the Sea of Galilee to begin selecting disciples. But these "unlikely candidates" responded wholeheartedly to Jesus' call and became the foundation of the Church we enjoy today.
To say "yes" to Jesus and become his disciple requires a certain detachment from the comforts and amenities of this world. Though all of us are invited, it turns out that many times it is the people we least expect who are ready to leave it all behind to follow the Lord. Because simple, ordinary people are familiar with the everyday struggles of life, they are the perfect ones to be "fishers of men," because they are able to relate to other broken people.
Jesus' proclamation of the Reign of God is the perfect antidote to the emptiness and restlessness that human beings experience when they live their lives as if they were their own creators. One can have all the comforts of this world and yet be miserable and unhappy in the depths of his or her heart.
St Augustine was spot on when he said that all human beings are "restless until they rest in God."
With Love from Your Pastor
Fr. Edwin Gros, SJ