“Jesus called and they immediately left their boats and parents and followed him.”
Matt. 4:22 adapted
The late Speaker of the House “Tip” O’Neill loved to relate a valuable lesson he’d learned early in his career. During his first political campaign, one of O’Neill’s neighbors told him: I am going to vote for you tomorrow, even though you didn’t ask me to! O’Neill was surprised and said: Why, Mrs. O’Brien, I have lived across from you for eighteen years, I cut your grass in the summer, I shoveled your walk in the winter; I didn’t think I had to ask for your vote! Mrs. O’Brien replied: Oh, Tommy, let me tell you something … people like to be asked!
My mother spoke with great admiration about the Benedictine Sisters who were her teachers in elementary school. I asked her once why she didn’t become a Sister – she replied “None of them asked me – so I figured I was not worthy.” Of course, I would not be here telling you this story if she’d been asked and said YES.
A vital faith community, one that “courageously lives the Gospel message” will always be inviting followers to come share our joy as followers of Jesus. Visitors are welcome in our churches. We are happy when a newcomer “pops in” but we need to take the first step in also inviting people to “come and see.” Or, how about inviting prayer partners to connect with us in the heart of Christ. A direct “ask” may encourage a vocation to church ministry as a priest or Sister. Or a person may be coaxed out of their loneliness to join a parish committee.
Promise God and yourself that the next time God presents you with the opportunity you will courageously invite someone to join you in a church service or a volunteer ministry or an activity that extends Jesus’ compassion for the poor and needy of our human family. Start simple. Start where you have energy and interest. Make a phone call, text, or write a letter to an overlooked relative or friend. Donate to that organization you’ve had on your “to do” list. “Smile when you’re feeling lonely” at someone who is carrying the weight of the world on their drooping shoulders.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle. With his brother Peter, the two at once left their nets and followed Jesus. May we be the beckoning voice that calls others to “Come after Jesus.”
This reflection was written by Sister Roberta Bailey, OSB
on November 30, 2021 – Giving Tuesday.