The diocese has asked that I preach about vocations today. I am happy to do so; it is one of my favorite topics. I want to think about three things — 1) God wants us and 2) God needs us 3) God calls us
God wants us. There is an antiphon that always moves me in the Divine Office: “God loved me and wanted me as his own.” God wants us, when all the rest of the world has little use for us, God wants us. Even when we mess up, he wants us back. He wanted us into existence in the first place. Ephesians 1:14 says it, “God chose you before the foundations of the world.” Before God made the blueprints for planet earth, he had you and he had me in his mind. And in his heart. God wanted us into existence, loved us into being. Such that the world would not be complete if you were not in it, or if I were not in it. That speaks volumes about our worth, a worth that many people question often. God has placed a high value on us – the blood of Jesus.
God needs us. And maybe he doesn’t really need us; he could get along without us just fine. But, as John Henry Newman said it, “God has deigned to need us.” In his plan, God has determined that the way he wants to get things done is to use you and me. I read something the other day about how beautiful a God we have – he is almighty, all powerful, but he waits to heal someone until he hears the prayer of a five year old girl. God needs our prayers, he needs our actions, our words, our lives!!! God needed me to be a priest in order to do something, or a thousand somethings. He needed the couple I married yesterday to be husband and wife, mother and father. He needed Elijah and Moses, Jeremiah and Nehemiah, Peter and Paul. He especially needed Blessed Mother. It is no different for us: God needs us and will change the world and build his kingdom using us just as he used our ancestors in the faith. God needs us.
God calls us. St Paul talks a bit about a vocation today in our second reading. He says that the vocation God has given us is “irrevocable.” Meaning: it cannot be taken back. It is unchangeable. It is permanent. And sacred. You cannot escape it; the call is there. And he calls us to do something that only we can do, something that we are in a unique position to do. O
And the reality that God wanted us into being, that he has need of us, and that he calls us—this is of crazy importance! Because it means that we cannot take our lives casually, we cannot sleepwalk through life. The fact that God made me for a purpose ought to make me think: what is that purpose!? And then we do well to answer that question with the Lord. Young people: take that question to God, and see what he says.
I just have to share with you: I love being a priest. Yesterday, I did every sacrament except Confirmation and Ordination….and that’s only because they won’t let me. I brought God to the earth at Holy Mass, I absolved sins, I brought me 30th couple together in marriage, I gave three children the chance of salvation through baptism and another one this morning, I prayed with the sick and visited some homes. Then I ate dinner and went to the K of C, all the while entertaining our school’s adopted seminarian who is with us a few days. Some people don’t want their sons to be priests because they don’t want them to be lonely. My friend Fr. Peter Bucalo and I were talking about that one day. He said, “I’d give my right arm for a little loneliness!” And that is so. Good priests—that is what we need more of—and a good priest is never lonely, because he is always with God and His people.
In your pews are the Called By Name cards. Write down the name of someone you think would be a good priest or nun and put it in the collection. I think we do this for two reasons: 1) sometimes a person hears God’s call through other people telling him. 2) it is a reminder that it is everyone’s job to pray for vocations to priesthood and religious life, and it is everyone’s job to promote them. No priest, no sacraments. We must do all we can to promote vocations….with grandkids, kids, brothers, sisters, so on.
Thank God that he wants us, needs us, calls us. Now it is time to help the diocese identify….who does God want to be a priest/religious, who does he need for that, who is he calling for that.