Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8
How timely. Today’s readings, in both instances, evoked in me images of being called by God and then sent forth to proclaim and live out the Good News of Jesus Christ. In the first, there are some of the earliest disciples, fully open to the will of God, hearing the Holy Spirit announce “the work to which I have called them.” So off they go to faraway lands, with courage and joy, to spread the Gospel. In the second reading, there is Jesus describing himself as likewise sent, here by a loving Father who has sent His Son to bring to all creation the promise of eternal life. What makes such passages timely is that they come just as I finish participating in a two-day discussion on campus about vocations, what they are for all of us, and how we faculty and staff might serve our students in the choices they make.
Thanks to the gentle insights of our discussion facilitator, I didn’t have to wallow for long in the embarrassing memories of the haphazard way that I went about making my own vocational decisions. Truth be told, for years I passively floated along the current of life, reaching out to take hold of this or that opportunity as it came by, but never really stopping long enough, at least not until well into midlife, to ask directly what is it that God calls me to do. While I don’t regret those early decisions, however unreflective, I was nevertheless relieved to hear that God probably doesn’t have some grand, pre-packaged plan for my life and that for most of us, there won’t be a grand moment of discovery, no bolt of lightening nor booming voice from on high that will inform us of the path to take. Rather, it seems that I am constantly being called by God to multiple vocations, callings that evolve and overlap throughout life. Right now, I am called to be father, to be college professor, to be a man loved by God. At the end, I suppose, I will be called to the vocation of a dying person. Thus, instead of happening all at once, vocations unfold gradually and beautifully, like a rose revealing one at a time its exquisite petals.
In prayer today, therefore, I will not be listening for that loud
knock announcing some pivotal and momentous decision for me to make.
I will instead pray that I will be attentive to yet another light tap on
life’s door. On hearing that call, my vocational decision will be
about my response. Today, on this occasion and at this moment, will
I be brave enough to say yes to what God is asking of me?
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