Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Vocation
Recent years have seen a broadening of our understanding of vocation. Not so long ago, vocation related only to priests and religious; today it is understood to include all who are baptised. Today's readings deal with three specific "calls" - Isaiah, Paul and Peter and his associates.

Isaiah 6: 1-8 - Last Sunday, we read of Jeremiah's call to service of the Lord and today we read of the circumstances surrounding Isaiah's call.

1 Cor. 15: 1-11 - As a result of the risen Christ appearing to him, Paul recognised that his mission in life was not to persecute the Christian community, but to become its leading advocate to all people - Jews and Gentiles.

Luke 5: 1-11 - Before giving them their definitive call, Christ prepared Peter and his associates. They accompanied Him as He instructed the people and their growing faith in Christ was confirmed by the miracle of the fish, but only after Peter had doubted Christ and then repented. Peter's position as leader was established and the challenge of Christian discipleship was entrusted to him and his associates.

Point 1: Without doubt, everyone here regularly recites the Lord's Prayer; and, in that prayer, each one prays -"Thy kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven". But, how often is the question asked -"What am I doing to see that happens"? Do I take time to reflect on my specific role in helping to establish God's kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven? The answer in many instances is "Not really"! Not so long ago, the majority considered that the work of evangelisation belonged specifically to the priests and the religious. They were the ones who had the vocation to see that "thy kingdom come"! This, of course, was a serious error and it is only with great difficulty that it is being corrected. Slowly, but surely, people are coming to a broader understanding of the implications of having been baptised and confirmed.

Point 2: There will always be, of course, those who are quite willing to sit back with folded arms and do nothing other than to criticise. But, increasingly, efforts are being made to have the church community see for itself a wider role than merely listening and contributing. The first step in this direction is getting people to become more aware of their Christian identity; through wider reading, discussing and listening, people are becoming better informed about their Faith. More and more people are finding in the Scriptures an inexhaustible source of information and encouragement. Personal prayer is becoming more than a spasmodic reaction to a crisis situation. The various ministries available now are finding support as people engage in preparing the liturgy, music, youth activities, counselling, visiting the sick, planning and finance. In some of these areas, it may be a bit hard to prise loose the P.P.'s grip. This shouldn't be a problem. It's not a take-over bid that is being mounted! And, unless the P.P happens to be singularly gifted in all areas of management, he will welcome constructive advice and assistance.

Conclusion: My point today is that because of our baptism and confirmation, each of us has a responsibility to make Christ known through a specific vocation - marriage, family, single life, priest or religious. Our local church community gives us opportunities and encouragement to answer that call. Like Isaiah, Paul, Peter and his associates, we, too, have been called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

Scriptural reference: In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. [Mat 5:16]