Called But Not Chosen

Happily, it was not my ordination but it was jury duty. It was the first time I was asked to serve. I was very nervous, unusually so. The thought of being actively a part of a process that I safely watched on television was daunting. When my name was called it was surreal. “Just follow the others and look like you know what you’re doing,” I told myself.

It was a very solemn occasion. It’s society’s cathedral. What is more sacred than our judicial system? The judge painstakingly (and I mean in terms of time) spelled out the duty, honor and privilege we all shared in being there. Essentially, he had to sell America to Americans.  I could tell by their postures that not one of them wanted to be there. You could have also guessed it from the clothing worn by the thirty of us. (I wouldn’t clean my garage in some of those clothes.)  All of them seemed to have preferred a dentist visit rather than an afternoon in that hallowed room.

For some reason, the attorneys didn’t think that I fit in. (I could have told them that before all those questions they asked me.) I was rejected. I was never picked for team sports so why did I hold up hope for jury duty? Thirteen other people were carefully selected for whatever qualifications escaped me.

Later that night my reflection went back to the great, opening speech given by the judge. He tried to convince us how important and significant was this calling (or summons under pain of prosecution) that we all received. (I thought Americans were gung-ho!)  My reflection was if I had to do that kind of convincing for parishioners in church, I would have given up on them years ago. I could never persuade someone to discover what is already inside them.  Namely, the gift of faith. Too bad we have to do it for another one of nature’s gifts; namely, freedom.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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