During this Vocations Awareness Week, we honour the call to Ecclesial Ministry of all Christians - Marriage and Family Life, the Single Life, Consecrated Life and Ordained Ministry. The Church is the communion of the faithful and all Christians possess true equality, affirmed in Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church n 32, which describes the different vocations based on our common Baptism and states ‘…there remains, nevertheless, a true equality between all with regard to the dignity and to the activity which is common to all the faithful in the building up of the body of Christ.’ All are ‘…called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity’ (n 40).
It takes time to accept a vocation, perhaps even a lifetime, as we grow into our way of life. Marriage is a call from God to build a lifelong partnership with the help of God’s grace. Sacraments touch our lives, those places where we are most in need. Even for those without faith, grace works in their relationships because truthful love is always of God.
For some, the Single Life is the way they become the person God is calling them to be. This too is a call to generous service – in family and community, workplace and Church. A single person may have the time and the freedom to devote to care of a family member or to networking with friends, or to a service, ministry or missionary endeavour. Every vocation is a call to generous and loving service and involves challenge, satisfaction, joy and peace.
The recent Sunday Gospel readings offer a wonderful context for understanding our vocation in the midst of everyday life. The Sower and the seeds remind us of the fact that many seeds are sown at different ages and in different seasons in our lives. Our call is unique and we need to revisit the call of our vocation, reflect and renew our resolve often. This Sunday we witness Jesus’ feeding the crowd. He feeds us in the Eucharist, feeds our heart, mind and spirit so that we can feed each other. Our gifts are for the community – for our family, for those we love, for those we know and serve, even for those we’ve never met.
Vocation is a call to generous service in marriage and family life, in the ‘domestic Church’ of the home and in the wider Church. We must find our way through life and work in the world, alert to God’s presence and action in all experiences and events, ready to ‘glimpse’ what God is offering us. Do we have the courage to let God do new and surprising things in our lives?
No matter who we are – Married, Single, Religious or Priest – our lives make a difference and we need a spirituality for the long haul. Pope Francis keeps offering us fresh challenges as he emphasizes Gospel joy in a Church wounded and suffering but still vital and alive:
‘Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel’ (Evangelii Gaudium n 20).
Let us offer grateful thanks for our many blessings, enjoy being together, strengthen our friendship and grow as a community, and above all, reach out to show to those around us and to our struggling world the face of a joyful Church – surely the essence of the Christian Vocation!