31st Sun OT Yr A (2017)
Good Shepherd (Frankfort)
Vocations Awareness Week
What if your life is meant to be as significant as Mother Theresa or John Paul II? Think about it for a minute…don’t doubt, or say that can’t be me… Mother Theresa and John Paul both thought that at times in their life…but that didn’t stop them. Think about it… what if your life is meant to have as much of an impact, either across the world like theirs or in our little corner of the world here – what if your life is meant for a Great Adventure?
Wouldn’t that be something? Wouldn’t it be something if God created you for a purpose? Wouldn’t it be something if your destiny was to make life better for those around you – to be a part of helping someone else find meaning in their life? Wouldn’t it be something if God’s plan to save a hungry person from starvation, or bring hope to someone who was completely without hope…wouldn’t it be something if God’s plan to save the soul of countless others included you? If you knew that to be true…what would you do?
It’s hard to ask questions like this in our world today – a world where we’ve been conditioned to ask different questions. Our world teaches us that to be great, we much achieve wealth and status to make a difference; that the only thing that matters is what we want to do, what we think will make us happy. The world teaches us this from the very beginning – from our earliest ages. “What do you want to do when you grow up?” That’s the question we’ve been asked when we were younger…and that’s mostly what we think about, even as we grow older, isn’t it? What do I want to do Friday night? Where do I want to go to college? What kind of job do I want to have? Will I make enough money? Will I have a big house and a nice car?
But Jesus asks a different question of those who follow Him, doesn’t He? In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that the greatest – the most significant – the most amazing – the most successful – the greatest among us are the ones who live their lives trying to serve others! What if real happiness isn’t tied up in chasing after what I want to do…but rather in finding out who God wants me to be?
It is estimated that the life of a priest over the course of a long and happy ministry significantly impacts the lives of more than a thousand people. Celebrating their moments of greatest happiness, comforting them in their moments of greatest sorrow, helping to build their faith…helping connect them to God and the Church. And the same can absolutely be said of the hundreds of religious sisters and brothers throughout the country. One author says it this way…the life of a priest or religious generally cooperates with God in this world To Save a Thousand Souls… Imagine. It’s not some crazy outlandish idea…when you think about it. What if your life was meant To Save a Thousand Souls…
All across the country this weekend, priests and deacons are kicking off National Vocations Awareness week. We’re all trying to help one another ask the most important question: what plan does God have for me? How has God imagined that I can be a part changing the world around me and changing the lives of those around me now and for eternity? For many of us, that answer becomes clear when we fall in love and get married. Raise your hands if you’re married. … … … Praise God for your holy vocation! That means that, from the beginning of time, God has called you to a life lived for the purpose of leading and guiding a family, helping your spouse become holy and – with Jesus – bringing them and your children to heaven. Marriage is a holy vocation when we’re certain that is God’s call for us. We don’t “pick” marriage from the choices available to us…not if we’re seeking a holy marriage. We discern it…by asking God: How do I fit into your plan?
For some of us – most of us perhaps – the answer to that question is marriage. Praise God for holy marriages! But for some of us, that answer is different. The problem is, these days we’re not asking the right question. Take a moment now…ask yourself…ask God…How do I fit into your plan?
Friends – I’ll be honest with you. We need holy marriages these days. To build the Kingdom of God, we need holy marriages. But we also need priests and deacons, we need religious sisters and brothers. And God continues to call them – but that call is becoming harder and harder to hear. We struggle even to ask the right question, because the world around us has encouraged us to focus on ourselves and our own desires. I want to ask you today to focus on something different. What is God asking from you? Because – you see – that’s the key to real happiness in this life. I had it all – career – house – car – love – success – family. I had it all…and I thought I was happy. But then I started to ask God a different question…and discovered that there was more! Living life as a complete “Yes” to God’s plan for us is a life like no other – it’s a Great Adventure! It takes us beyond our wildest dreams! It leads to a happiness and fulfillment I couldn’t have imagined was even possible. That’s what I want for you…but more importantly, that’s what God wants for you.
There are some here at this Mass that God is calling to consider priesthood or religious life. If you think about it for just a moment, you know who I’m talking about. Maybe it’s you… We want to help them – we want to help you – listen for God’s voice – for God’s call. If you would, take a few moments now and consider this question: Could God be calling you to the Great Adventure of priesthood or religious life? If so…fill out the front side of the card you received coming in to Church. We’ll send you some information that can help you hear God speak. And think about this, too…you know each other well. You can see the heart of a servant in those around you. You know who God seems to be working with in a special way… Maybe they’re being called to the Great Adventure of priesthood or religious life. On the back of the card, you can provide the name and whatever other information you know to help us get in touch with them and help them.
There are folks in this Church today who God is calling To Save a Thousand Souls. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s someone you know. Please share that information with us, and place your card in with the offering in a few minutes. Our greatest happiness in this life is found in knowing and doing God’s will for our lives – it’s a life like no other – it’s the Great Adventure! Who is God calling?