Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Homily for Tuesday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time

Homily for Tuesday of the 14th Week in Ordinary Time
St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center
7 July 2009
Holy Year for Priests
St. John Vianney, pray for us!

I think I was 18-8 my senior year of high school in wrestling. I didn't make it to state. The last comment on my wrestling career was my mom saying - I think you could have done better. Well, thankfully I was able to move on to an alternate vocation the Lord had in mind for me, since I obviously was not half the wrestler Jacob was. We hear of Jacob wrestling with God not just for 3 two minute periods but throughout the night, and Jacob is not vanquished. The story reminds us that God will challenge us to use our freedom well, but will not overwhelm or take back that freedom. That is why for many of us, discovering our vocation is not about God overwhelming us with his will for our lives, but of our wrestling with the question of what he desires for us, and entering into the drama of using our freedom to follow Jesus Christ as closely as we can. A wrestling match is a good metaphor, for those who have wrestled and for those who haven't. In the end, after the wrestling is done, Jacob asks for the Lord's blessing, and receives it!

Many people have assumed that the new holy year for priests is really a holy year for vocations to the priesthood. We hear Jesus telling his disciples that the harvest is rich and the laborers are few. Most of the emphasis in the church in the past has been on getting more priests, more vocations, but this holy year in particular is not about praying for more priests, although this prayer should not lessen in any way, but about praying for the priests we already have. Priests need the prayerful support of the faithful, especially when they feel outnumbered by their parishioners, and without the energy needed to fulfill the expectations placed on them. Priests need our prayers so that even when faced with overwhelming demands for their time and pastoral charity, even when they know they cannot do everything, they will still be faithful and generous in doing what they can, praying that the Lord can do great things with small mustard seeds of faith, hope and love. Let us pray for the priests we already have, that they be strengthened in this holy year, for holy and generous priests will attract other men to labor with the Lord for an abundant harvest. +m

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