Chosen with Care

(Homily for Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B)

Bottom line: Like a great director, selecting exactly the right person for a part, God chooses you or me.

I imagine most of you have seen the film, "Gone With the Wind." If not, you have a treat waiting for you. It is interesting how Director David Selznick chose the leading lady. Everyone knew that no one but Clark Gable could be Rhett Butler, but who should play Scarlett O'Hara? David Selznick considered a few dozen actresses to perform the Southern belle. Finally he made a surprising selection: not a girl born in the South or even in America. She was born in India of British parents: Vivien Leigh. Almost everyone agrees that she played a superb, unforgettable Scarlett O'Hara.

David Selznick took great care in picking just the right person for that famous role. Similarly - but with infinitely greater care - God selects us for a part in the divine drama. We see it today in the call of the prophet, Samuel. When he was a boy, sleeping near the ark in the temple, Samuel heard a voice. He went to the priest, Eli, and said, "Here I am." But Eli said, "I did not call you, my son, go back to sleep." This happened two more times and finally Eli told the boy that if he heard the voice again, say, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Of all the children in Israel, God had selected Samuel for a vital role.

Samuel did not have an easy time of it. If you read the two books named for him, you will see that he faced enormous struggles. But God had chosen him and Samuel never wavered.

God continues to call people today - sometimes in very unlikely circumstances. At the beginning of the twentieth century, an Italian boy heard God's call. He was an unlikely choice because his father was quite anti-Catholic. A member of the Italian Socialist Party, he constantly mocked the Church. His son, Albino, heard a Franciscan preacher and felt himself called to the priesthood. Albino's dad was working in another city so - with great trepidation - he wrote him a letter. It took some time for the response. Trembling, Albino opened the letter. It contained a small piece of paper, on which his father wrote, "If that is what you wish, do it." Eventually his dad was reconciled with the Church. Albino kept the note all his life - and he still had it in 1978, when as Bishop of Venice, he entered the papal conclave. Against everyone's expectations, the Cardinals elected him. He became known as "the smiling pope," Pope John Paul I. His papacy lasted only thirty-three days, but it made a deep impression. Today Albino Luciani - Pope John Paul I - is on the path to beatification and sainthood.

Now God does not only chooses famous people like Pope John Paul I or Samuel. He chooses folks like you and me. And what appears to be a humble role might be a hinge in his plan of redemption. In one of C.S. Lewis' books, a working woman with no children - and a mean-spirited husband - shines as a great saint, important for the salvation of many souls.* In God's drama, we do not know who are the leading actors. We will find out on the final judgment day. What we do know is that God chooses us with care for our role in his drama. Like a great director, selecting exactly the right person for a part, God chooses you or me.

Today Jesus asks, "What are you looking for?" Do not be afraid to tell him. And you may hear those beautiful words, "Come, and you will see."


*See The Great Divorce, chapters 12 & 13.

General Intercessions for Second Ordinary Sunday (from Priests for Life)

Spanish Version

From the Archives:

Second Sunday, Year B, 2006: Your Body Does Not Belong to You
2003: Rabbi, Messiah, Cephas
2000: The Hardest Saying in the Bible

From Archives (Homilies on St. Peter and St. Paul):

Year of St. Paul
What Peter Meant to Paul
The Two Keys
Jesus Establishes a Sacred Order

Other Homilies

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Bulletin (St. Michael's Chapel - Before & After; March for Life, Parish Stewardship Plan)


Preaching Schedule

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