5th Sunday Year A
Theme of the week: God is calling me to serve. Am I prepared to manifest my God-given talent, serving God and his people?
Each of us are unique in our own way. Each of us are talented in our own way. Each of us are called to serve God in our own way. What is God calling me to do?
Before the days of refrigeration, salt was an important commodity. For it is through salt that food can be preserved; and travel and trade made possible. Much like other precious commodities of today, nations fought wars over salt in those days. In the Gospel, Jesus uses two parables to encourage His followers to serve. Just like salt and a lamp in the dark, each of us is created with talents that God has gifted us with. It is our calling to use our God-given talents for the good of the community, and ultimately to serve God. For if salt loses its saltiness and a lamp loses its light, what use is there for them? In those days, if one is sold fake salt, there is nothing much else to do with it but to be “thrown out and trampled under foot” (verse 13).
Each of us are called to serve in different ways. To some, as the First Reading describes, it may be to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, or cover the naked (verse 7). While there are charities and church ministries that do these things, serving God does not necessarily means serving in an established charity or church ministry. Perhaps it is a friend or a neighbour that needs my help, that it is only I who is put into a unique position to offer help to this person.
What am I called to do? Where am I called to serve? Discerning this question can be a daunting experience. Often, God calls us to venture out of our comfort zone to serve others. Think of Moses’ reaction when God called him to lead the people. He was apprehensive. Who am I to go the Pharaoh (Ex 3:11)? Who shall I say send me (Ex 3:13)? What if they don’t believe me (Ex 4:1)? But I am not eloquent in speech (Ex 4:10). Please send someone else (Ex 4:13)! Faced with what seems like a daunting mission, we are often apprehensive like Moses. But God does not call the qualified, He qualifies those he calls. To alley Moses’ fear, God revealed His very identity (Ex 3:14); gave Moses supernatural power to turn his staff into a snake (Ex 4:3); and gave him Aaron as his spokesperson (Ex 4:14). That is how it is with God’s call. If I answer the call, God will smoothen the path ahead of me. All it takes from me is a willingness to answer the call and a willingness to trust in the Lord. In the Second Reading, Paul is equally apprehensive with his call. “And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling”, he said (verse 3). However, trusting in the Lord, Paul said, “My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God” (verse 4-5). Here, Paul also shows us another great trait that will help in our service to the Lord – that of humility. Paul provides us a great example of humility, allowing the Holy to act through him and proclaiming that the teachings he impart are not his own wisdom but the wisdom of God.
The call to service embodies the very foundation of our faith. God gifted us with faith; and we are called to manifest our faith visibly though serving God and his people. Through our service, God’s presence is manifested. This is living faith. For “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” (James 2:17.26) So go forth to love and to serve. Amen.