(Optional) Memorial of St. Katharine Drexel, virgin
(I Peter 1:3-9; Mark 10:17-27)
Disciples are, it might be said, drafted by Jesus. They receive a calling and are expected to present themselves promptly. Jesus himself distinguishes this summons from the military draft. He provides the companionship which is of far greater value then gold. Unfortunately, the man in the gospel reading today fails to recognize this fact and retreats at Jesus’ beckoning.
St. Katharine Drexel, whose feast day is celebrated today, eagerly responded to a similar call. Born into a wealthy family in the nineteenth century, Katharine entered the convent when she was thirty. Eventually, she founded her own congregation dedicated to assisting native- and African-Americans. She used her substantial inheritance for this purpose.
Most of us want to live normal lives. We hope to have a family, a house and a car, plus some expendable income for McDonald’s or maybe Olive Garden. Few, in the United States at least, would call these expectations ambitious. But Jesus may be summoning us to something else. Like the man in the gospel and St. Katharine Drexel, he might be calling us to follow him in a radical way. If we take up the offer, we may not sleep quite as comfortably as others, but we are more likely to thank God when day is done.