Saturday, April 24, 2010

Homily for World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Here is this week's homily.

Today, this “Good Shepherd Sunday”, we are celebrating the 47th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. I would like to share with you a few thoughts from Pope Benedict’s Message to commemorate today’s celebration.

When talking about a response to the call to priesthood or consecrated life, Pope Benedict offers three primary thoughts to keep in mind. I would argue that these would also apply to all who are called to single life, and especially married life.

First, our Holy Father reminds us that “a fundamental element, one which can be seen in every vocation to the priesthood and the consecrated life, is friendship with Christ.” We are reminded that Jesus had a close communion with his Father. Observing this was an inspiration for His disciples which inspired them to seek the same type of a union. As Pope Benedict continues, “Prayer is the first form of witness which awakens vocations. Like the Apostle Andrew, who tells his brother that he has come to know the Master, so too anyone who wants to be a disciple and witness of Christ must have ‘seen’ him personally, come to know him, and learned to love him and to abide with him.”

The second item is a complete gift of one’s self to God. Even in marriage, spouses give themselves to God so that there are not two involved in the marriage, but three. It is the witness of sacrifice and service that is an inspiration to others who are listening for their call from God. Priests and consecrated persons, living that example of service is a draw to many who are looking for a deeper meaning in their lives. When others see the faithfulness of spouses to each other, centered around a life of faith, they are inspired to search for same commitment if they are called to marriage. The complete gift of self to God allows God to work through us when calling others to a vocation.

The third aspect mentioned by our Holy Father is communion. “Jesus showed that the mark of those who wish to be his disciples is profound communion in love: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35)” It is important that into whatever vocation God may be leading us, we work on building that communion through love of one another.

Pope Benedict reminds us that, “every priest, every consecrated person, faithful to his or her vocation, radiates the joy of serving Christ and draws all Christians to respond to the universal call to holiness.” All married couples, by being open to life and sharing in the love Christ makes present within their marriage is also an inspiration that can help others understand that universal call to holiness.

As Pope Benedict sums up his message, “May this World Day once again offer many young people a precious opportunity to reflect on their own vocation and to be faithful to it in simplicity, trust and complete openness. May the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, watch over each tiny seed of a vocation in the hearts of those whom the Lord calls to follow him more closely, may she help it to grow into a mature tree, bearing much good fruit for the Church and for all humanity.”

I want to encourage all of you to set aside some additional time to day for prayer in order to pray for vocations, especially vocations to priesthood and consecrated life.
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