130 | VISION 2021 | VocationNetwork.orgBEING CATHOLIC
T THE HEART of the church is vocation. The earliest idea
of what is today called “church” starts with the Greek word
ekklesia, which is only found twice in the gospels, both times
in Matthew, and means those who have been “called out.” Jesus “calls
out” all who follow him to share in his ministry in different ways.
Before Jesus even preached, healed someone, or performed a
miracle, he called people to follow him. At the beginning of Jesus’ min-
istry, after his Baptism and temptation in the wilderness, the first thing
he did was to call two sets of brothers. He asks Simon and Andrew
At its core, the church is a community of followers
Jesus calls; we respond
BY JOHN W. MARTENS
John W. Martensis professor oftheology at theUniversity of St.Thomas in St.Paul, Minnesotaand director ofthe master’s intheology program at the St.Paul SeminarySchool of Divinity. He wrote“The Word” column for Americamagazine, nowavailable fromLiturgical Press.