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Congregation for the Clergy: The Call to Conversion is for Every Christian

By Congregation for the Clergy
January 23rd, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Unlike Jonah, the four fishermen called to become apostles in the Gospel respond quickly to the call of Jesus.  But like Jonah, they too are called to trust the Lord to accomplish what, at first glance, seems illogical and dangerous: to leave their work behind and follow someone unknown.

VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - This Sunday, like last week, is characterised by two vocation stories through which both the personal invitation to conversion and the call to participate in the conversion of all humanity clearly emerges.

The first reading is the story of Jonah.  He is a prophet called by God to travel to the distant city of Ninevah to preach repentance to its inhabitants.  Jonah was reluctant at first - he was convinced that it was useless to try and preach conversion to a city of pagans.  He considered that only Israel could be the recipient of God's salvation.

However, he went to that city and when he arrived he was forced to change his mind.  His scepticism fell away as he discovered that the Ninevites listened to his word, believed and were converted.

In this way Jonah lived out his own personal conversion to God.  The prophet admitted to not knowing enough about the Lord who casts His merciful gaze to all people who are called to know Him and love Him.

Unlike Jonah, the four fishermen called to become apostles in the Gospel respond quickly to the call of Jesus.  But like Jonah, they too are called to trust the Lord to accomplish what, at first glance, seems illogical and dangerous: to leave their work behind and follow someone unknown.

The Apostles decision is undoubtedly determined by the words Jesus Himself proclaimed: "The time has come and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News."

The first two statements reveal the presence of God and the fulfilment of his work; the other two appeal to each individual who is called to collaborate in the design of salvation which is completed in Jesus of Nazareth who is Lord and Christ.

The Word of God, therefore emphasises firstly that the vocation to the Christian life begins with a real personal conversion which can never be definitely completed and needs to be continually renewed at various times of our lives.  Secondly, then, the human response should always be full of confidence, even when it seems that what God asks is not immediately understandable, logical or useful.

Finally, every vocation must contain a missionary element that proclaims the 'call to conversion' that is often more effective when lived on a personal level.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of proclamation and discipleship, sustain the Church, all Christians and especially priests along this journey of continual conversion and, therefore, effective proclamation.

Citations of
John 3,1-5.10:   www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9absuja.htm
1Co 7,29-31: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9bm0ipg.htm   
Mc 1,14-20: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9avvmta.htm 

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