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It’s been kind of a tough week at the parish office. It was as if we were being picked off one by one. Yes, you guessed it. A number of us got sick with the flu.

I got hit late Monday evening and it just got worse until Thursday I spent half the day in bed. Most of the week it’s been as if I’ve been in a fog. Therefore my reflections the Sunday are quite simple.

Following Jesus, being a disciple has never been easy or simple. Being a Christian from the very beginning has meant being different. It has meant persecution. It has meant ridicule. It has meant hardship. It has even meant death.

It has also meant a transformation of mind and heart that has brought abundant joy in the face of hardships and light in the darkness of life’s difficulties.

As Isaiah the prophet spoke, “Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness: for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.”

So too does our responsorial psalm 27 proclaim: “The Lord is my light and my salvation whom should I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge, of whom should I be afraid… Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”

Hopefully each of us has personally experienced the call of Jesus Christ that has touched and transformed our lives in some significant way.

The call of Jesus is personal and particular. Jesus calls each of us by name. Jesus invites us individually to follow him and then, as St. Paul writes, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.” 

Jesus calls us to be Church, a community who follows him and seeks to do as he did: teaching, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people.

I am so humbled when I see you following Jesus Christ and doing as he did. Parents teaching your children the way of faith. Spouses supporting one another in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. 

Families coming together week after week for Mass. Small groups gathering for prayer and reading sacred Scripture. Individuals ministering at the St. Vincent de Paul clothing bank and pregnancy aid and the community kitchen. Eucharistic visitors who go out weekly to the homebound.

There are those who serve at the men’s shelter as hosts, cooks and washing laundry. There are those who make St. Vincent de Paul home visits bringing not only financial aid but also companionship, caring and prayer.

There are parents who choose and sacrifice to send their children to Saint Michael Parish School. Other parents faithfully participate in our faith formation programs. There are many of you who serve the community in the work you do and the volunteering that you offer.

In all these ways and many more, recognize that Jesus is asking you to proclaim the Gospel and to invite people into a relationship with Jesus Christ.

We are the ones that Jesus calls today. We are Peter and Andrew, James and John in 2020. Let us, like they, respond with generous hearts. Let us help one another to answer this call. Let us be united in mind and heart as St. Paul urges.

Let us not be afraid to be disciples of Jesus Christ and proclaim that the kingdom of God is at hand.