Living the Gospel – January 17, 2021

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“At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,
because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.
So Eli said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,
Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

Most of us know and love the song “Here I Am, Lord,” often sung during the Offertory at Mass, but how many of us remember where and when we made the decision to follow Jesus? Today’s scripture messages – they’re about listening to God’s invitation, our following the messages of the Gospel with great love and care – and sharing that message with others.

John was standing with two of his disciples,
and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God.”
The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that many people who follow Jesus come from very different religious backgrounds. Some are “cradle Catholics” who attended Catholic schools, others chose to join the Church as adults, some chose to become Catholic as a child. I’m in the last category. Fortunately, God paid no attention to the fact that I was an unbaptized seven year old child. My extended family was from a variety of denominations, my parents married in a civil ceremony and we lived with my grandfather. He was in his last illness and the Presbyterian minister visited him regularly to comfort and pray with him. I thought that was a good thing to do…

But every Monday afternoon I walked with my public school friends to attend “catechism classes” at the Catholic church. My family didn’t know that I did it, and I don’t remember how I got away with my “excursion.” But when it was time for my class to receive our First Communion, I sadly wondered why I didn’t have a white dress or a veil. My mother told me to ask my father. And I did. And he asked who had been taking me to church. Of course I had been taking myself. After much discussion and my stubborn persistence, he told my mother to get me baptized. I’m still amazed that my father respected my decision, as I still don’t know in which church – if any – he was raised.

I was baptized when I was just seven years old – 2 weeks before my First Communion. And my parents kept their word to see to it that I got to Mass. You see, even children can make decisions to follow Jesus… Let’s keep supporting them…

Dorothy Hathway Forbes, OCDS