Septuagesima Sunday 1.2.15 Answering the call
The parable of the labourers in the vineyard is often associated with the need to pray for priestly and religious vocations.
Certainly we need to do that, but the call to work in the vineyard must not be seen as applying only to the priests and religious.
Every single person in the world is called to go and work in the Lord’s vineyard.
First, by becoming a disciple; and then by giving one’s whole life to His service.
Everyone is meant to be a disciple of Our Lord; and every disciple is meant to be a red-hot, switched-on disciple.
Not just a passenger or a spectator, but fully engaged in the Lord’s work.
This does not mean replacing priests and religious, but simply that each person has a role to play.
This role can be understood in two stages. The first is the general overall commitment. I would do anything for the Lord. Die for Him, follow Him, give up anything He asks me to…etc etc.
Then it becomes more specific. Not everyone is called to leave all their possessions and walk about as the apostles and other saints did.
Most disciples are called to live in houses, in streets, and go to work, like other people. But they do not think like other people. They think like Christ. (cf epistle, a whole different view of life, of values, of meaning).
Being a disciple can mean many things. It could mean being sick for a long period of time. It could mean being imprisoned by persecutors, or being put to death simply for being Catholic.
As long as we are giving complete authority to God to direct our lives, we are going to be good disciples.
We do not have to compare ourselves with others (as they did in the parable); we simply do what each one is required to do.
If the generality of disciples are fervent it will not be difficult to draw from that number some who will take on more specific roles such as priests and religious.
Our problem with ‘vocations’ at the moment is lack of faith in the broader population of Catholics, so there is a much smaller pool to draw from regarding religious vocations.
This would be fixed in a moment if there were more fervent lay people.
So we find we are all working in the vineyard, by all doing whatever each is meant to do; in general willingness, and then in matters more specific to each person.
The sooner we answer such a call the better for each person, and for the whole Church.
Those who come in early should not envy the late-comers, because there is actually more happiness in serving the Lord than in wasting our time in worldly pursuits.
The sooner we find focus and direction the greater our chance for happiness.
When we ask the Lord to send labourers to His vineyard we are still thinking of priests and religious, but we are also asking for all disciples to find their proper place.
So many are drifting through this life without really understanding that they have this very specific call directed to them.
How many think of ‘religion’ as just a minor part of their lives, if that much?
Our young generally have been given too much freedom to define their own future, and many of them have come to grief, not knowing how to handle that freedom.
Our prayer is that the young will heed the call; and those who have already answered the call will be refreshed by the grace of God, enabling them to persevere to the end.