III Ordinary Sunday – 26-27 January, 2008
After his preaching, Jesus finds the first partners for his work. They are not Pharisees or Scribes, not scholars or influential members of the community but fishermen, who may have been quite illiterate.
It is significant that the call takes place right in their working place. The initiative for the call comes from Jesus. "I chose you, you did not choose me."
For them it means a metanoia, a complete break in their lifestyle. There is a complete letting go. "Immediately they left their nets and followed Jesus." They put their total trust in Jesus, leaving behind their only means of livelihood, not knowing where it would all lead. Jesus himself had already taken this step in leaving Nazareth, his family and his livelihood as a carpenter.
From now on their life would consist not in worrying what they could get and keep but in service to their brothers and sisters, especially those in greatest need.
Peter and Andrew, James and John hear the call of the Lord, drop everything and follow him. They were not the sort of people who anyone would suspect of being religious. They were common, everyday people, fishermen. They were not the sort of people anyone would suspect could convince others to change their lives. They were common, everyday people, fishermen. They were not the sort of people that anyone would suspect could take the position of leadership in the conversion of the world. They were common, everyday people, fishermen. But they were called. They responded. And God worked his wonders through them.
This Sunday’s readings have led me to a reflection on the vocation to the priesthood and religious life. I wish I could find a way to communicate to you and particularly to our young people my feelings about the priesthood. For me, the priesthood is the greatest life possible. I certainly that our married and our single can also say, “For me, this is the greatest life possible.” Back to the priesthood, though. Sometimes I’m called upon in emergency situations to bring the sacraments to a person I have never met. If I only did that once in my life, my life would be have meaning and purpose, but this is an everyday event for a priest.
The ancient Hebrews of the psalms and wisdom literature spoke about their longing to sit at the gates of the city and meditate on Scripture. The priest is obliged to do this every day and every week. We pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which is basically psalms and readings from scripture. We prepare homilies. Sometimes we need a break from preaching. Sometimes you need a break from our preaching. But it is a wonderful life to be obligated to spend so much time with the Word of God.
Then there is the Mass. The Mass! One of my main motivation to become a priest was to be able to celebrate Mass. It is beyond my imaging that God would allow human beings to act in his person and recreate the offering of his Son at the Last Supper and on the Cross, but that is what happens every time the priest celebrates Mass.
Vocational story - one simple “Our Father” every day
Somehow at the beginning of the 19 century
A young man, who would like to be a priest … but he met a young, beautiful girl …
Pretty normal story of the young boys who think sometimes about the vocation, but …
They get married.
Few years later they have already some children …
- He started to regret that he didn’t realize his first vocation …
But he cannot change anything … they get more and more children but his wife saw that he is not happy in the marriage
Why? He told her … what his grudge was? She proposed a very simple thing
Lest us pray everyday one “Our Father” for the vocation of one of our children
They prayed for the years and the years adding always one simple Our Father in a special intention …. The children were coming and praying with them …
Many years later the father was dying and at the bad of the dying father all children gathered.
The oldest one got the courage to ask a question
What for we were praying always in the evening as a last prayer of every day?
Father said what the intention of this one simple prayer was.
All were amazed because at the dying father’s bed were present 3 religious sisters, 4 priests, one bishop and one – the oldest one among the siblings - cardinal … 9 out of 13 children God called to his service .
Maybe this is the solution for the shortage of priests in Canadian church?