The Call

Here we are, the first Monday of the first week of Advent. As Catholics, it’s kind of cool that we get to jumpstart the New Year while the old one is still winding down. Hopefully we found energy and fervor in yesterday’s Mass which encouraged us to joyfully embark on the year ahead. But if yesterday felt lackluster, for whatever reason, the Church in her wisdom made sure to follow it up with a strong Day 2.

We meet four disciples in a mere four verses of Scripture today – Peter, Andrew (whose feast day it happens to be), James and John. Two sets of brothers, two calls of Jesus, two nearly identical responses. Matthew doesn’t mince words in this particular story. Jesus calls, the brothers drop what they are doing, and immediately follow Him.

There is something to be said for Matthew’s lack of details and practically no dialogue at all. When Jesus calls you, you come. Period. How simple it sounds! We know that these men were not perfect, the Gospels do not hide their faults from us. But they did have their moments of clarity, and for these 4 this was one of them.

What can we learn from this brief yet profound exchange? Clearly when Jesus calls you to something it ought not be shirked away from. Often there are things, or even people, we need to leave behind. We don’t always know exactly where Jesus is calling us to. Becoming “fishers of men” isn’t the most detailed or understandable goal for a journey.

One of the great themes of Advent is Mary’s fiat, her “Yes” at the Annunciation to God’s plan for her life and for the salvation of the world. Today, the first working day of Advent, we are blessed by not one, but four yeses. There are similarities and differences between the two experiences, but the end result is the same.  Though they did not know how at the time, each person’s life was radically changed by their intimate encounter with the Lord.

We are being called to a similar encounter. This is a brand new year. What opportunities is God calling you to? How can you give your own yes to His summons? God is calling you by name to something extraordinary, even if it feels ordinary. No matter who you are, you are called to share the Good News of God’s amazing love in a unique and beautiful way.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at

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Be Watchful

This year has been a test of faith, probably more so than any one previous. This statement is not to be taken lightly. In 2001, I stood as a bushy-eyed high schooler only a few streets away from Ground Zero on the day nearly 3,000 others had their lives abruptly stolen from them. In 2014, we lost our son to stillbirth after what had been an otherwise uneventful first pregnancy. Through it all, moments of adversity force us to open our eyes to what is most important. This year, I have seen countless more lives lost, both near and far away from me. The grief can be deep and overwhelming; the darkness, heavy and lonely.

In contrast, giving thanks for what we have in 2020 has taken on a new meaning. Even the smallest blessings must not be taken for granted. From food and jobs to our health and each other, there is so much to praise God for.

Now more than ever before, as we begin this Advent season, we must depend on the living steadfastness of the Lord for continued restoration. Today’s readings include the Psalm, “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”  2020 has been a constant reminder that this world is not our world. His ways are not our ways. But rather, one must “wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful.” We must continue to savor then, each day He grants us as a gift, and spread the light of being Christian to others, so that we can all remain ready for Him. As the work of His hands, we must live each day giving glory and honor to Him through humble service and love.

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Dr. Alexis Dallara-Marsh is a board-certified neurologist who practices in Bergen County, NJ. She is a wife to her best friend, Akeem, and a mother of two little ones on Earth and two others in heaven above.

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