On October 3rd, 1990, the unification of East and West Germany was a very touching moment for many of us. One could ask how two countries with opposite political systems could be unified. The question one might ask is why two countries with the same culture and people were separated in the first place. The answer often lies in the political leaders. Political leaders or parties are the ones who control the fate of the country they pledge to serve. Imagine the leader of North Korea deciding to give up his ruling power in favor of unification of North and South Korea? There would be thousands of families reunited since the separation of the last Korean War. If we say countries are divided or reunified because of political matters, it might be more helpful to point out that it is more a personal matter. Many leaders don’t want unification because they don’t want to give up their power and wealth.
Look at the gospel this Sunday, John the Baptist was an efficient leader. He could draw big crowds to be his followers. Herod the Tetrarch did not dare to kill John at first because of the crowd. John was called to be the precursor of the Messiah, but he could be distracted by all the power and attention he had gotten from the people and denied Jesus. He did not. Instead, he pointed at Jesus for his disciples to follow him. What a guy, who was so faithful to his calling.
John and Samuel were faithful to their callings, how about us? Are we faithful to our calling as father, mother, minister, priest and nun? There are parents who work so hard that they have hardly any time to interact with their children. They might claim they do it for the sake of the children, but once home from work, they would prefer to be left alone because they are so tired. Priests and ministers in the church claim they are called to serve the people of God, but when it comes to control, colorful words could be shot at each other like bullets. Today’s reading reminds us to examine our calling. Do not let the personal ambition of career, wealth and power distract us from our original calling. John and Samuel were powerful leaders, but when they had to choose between their personal ambition and their faithfulness to the calling of God, they chose the latter one. Let us encourage each other to do the same.