Call to be missionaries

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The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Edwin Fernandez, SVD (DWC, Laoag City)

Feast of Saint Andrew, the Apostle

Photo: Opening Mass during the Africa Zonal Assembly of SVD Lay Partners in Kinshasa, Congo

In Grade Four, a classmate invited me to join the Knights of the Altar in our parish in Binmaley, Pangasinan. As an altar server, I came to know the SVD missionaries and enjoyed accompanying them to the barrios on weekends. Drawn and attracted to their missionary life, I decided to enter the SVD minor seminary in Urdaneta, Pangasinan, at the age of twelve.

I feel a deep sense of gratitude and awe whenever I go back to my ‘Galilee’ and get in touch with the beginnings of my vocation story, how Jesus’ call, “Come, follow me,” uniquely came to me.  The calling of the disciples in today’s Gospel also happened at a particular time and place.  Jesus came to them and invited them to follow him and be fishers of men.  He offered them a new dream much bigger than the ones they had.  He challenged them to risk all they had for a mission worth living and dying for.  

When I was a child, I dreamt of becoming a medical doctor, but the Lord wanted me to be a healer of wounded hearts and souls.  Faced with Jesus’ invitation, the disciples left everything and followed him.  Leaving everything for Jesus is a paradox because when one follows Jesus, he/she ends up discovering that Jesus is all that he/she needs and yearns for in life.  In him, we lack nothing.  Only in him do we find the ultimate meaning and purpose of our life.

As missionary disciples, what is it that we still need to let go of, so that we can follow Jesus more closely and thus live a more fruitful missionary life and service to people?  

St. Andrew the Apostle, pray for us. 

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