Sunday, January 9, 2011

Vocations - God is Calling

Homily from the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord - Year A

When I was 7, our family took a vacation to Washington D.C. We drove 12 hours from South Bend to D.C. These were the days before DVD players in the cars so my family kept me occupied with activity books for those 12 hours.

However, these weren't your regular, run of the mill activity books where you do word searches or crossword puzzles. These activity books had puzzles and games with invisible answers and you had to use a special invisible ink pen to reveal the right answer.

You'd be going through a maze  and you'd scribble your invisible ink pen over the path you wanted to take and if you went the wrong direction you'd reveal a picture of an angry dog that wanted to bite you. If you went in the right direction, you would unveil a pot of gold. Stuff like that.

Our lives are kind of like those activity books. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We don't know the answers to all our questions. We discover God’s will for our lives each and every day. And we do this by using the metaphorical "invisible ink pen" God has given us: the Sacraments, prayer, and being a disciple of Christ.

Now, I could have used a Sharpie and written down whatever I wanted. But then I’d never know the answers that were hidden on the page waiting for me to discover.

Likewise the authentic life is not so much what we choose as it is following what God calls us to.

On this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, in which we celebrate the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, we also begin National Vocations Awareness Week.

Click here to visit
 The word "vocation" comes from the Latin word "vocare" which means "to call." And that's what a vocation is: not something I choose per se, but rather the life God is calling me to live.

We often ask children, "What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do with your life?" It's a fair question. But the real questions we should be asking is "What does God want you to be when you grow up? What does God want to do with your life?"

For many, it’s a call to the vocation of marriage. For some, it’s a call to the priesthood or religious life. For those who are still awaiting the answer, know this: God is calling you each and every day. You may not know it, but He is preparing you.

I wanted to be an actor. So I took part in every play and musical my school offered. I got very comfortable standing in large groups of people.

I wanted to be the Leprechaun. I got very comfortable at getting people excited about something we had in common: Notre Dame football.

I wanted to be a disc jockey. Got very comfortable listening to the sound of my own voice.

I wanted to be in sales. I got very comfortable discerning the needs of people and offering solutions.

It wasn’t until after all this that I started to grow in my faith and started to pray more, read about my faith, go to confession more regularly and Mass more often than just on Sundays. It wasn’t until long after all this that I realized God had put me in those positions to train me for a particular kind of work in his vineyard.

God will use the good events (as well as the bad), your good qualities (as well as the bad) to shape you in formation for your vocation. You might look at some of the bad events of your life or some of your sinful tendencies and say, "I could never be a priest. I’m too much of a sinner. I’m not worthy."

No one is worthy! I am not worthy to be up here and do what I do. But I'll never forget something Monsignor Bernie Galic our diocesan vocations director said to me when I told him the idea of being a priest was attractive to me but I didn't think I was worthy. "Andrew," he said. "Jesus doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called."

God didn’t call one single saint to be a priest or religious. He called and continues to call sinners to be priests and religious. Just as he calls sinners to the vocation of marriage or the dedicated single life. Then, God makes you a Saint.

The reason why Jesus was born in Bethlehem and was baptized was so that he could stand on the shore with sinners. Jesus didn’t need baptism. But he did it to show us the way to salvation which is through baptism and his cross.

Jesus stands on our shore today, right in our midst. And he calls us sinners to follow him, to discern our vocation, and to begin to uncover his plan for our lives.

I suspect very strongly, that some of you, are being called, right this very moment, by none other than God Himself to the priesthood or religious life. Maybe he wants you to talk to a priest or a sister in the next few weeks. Maybe He’s still preparing you and will urge you to talk to a priest or sister in a year, or 5 years, or 10. Pick up your invisible ink pen – the Sacraments and prayer – and start uncovering God’s vocation for your life.

For more information about discerning a priestly vocation, visit the vocations page for the Dioces of Fort Wayne - South Bend or check out  You can also call Monsignor Bernard Galic, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend at 260-622-4491 or Father Andrew at 260-489-3537.


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  2. Fr. Andrew - I recently found your Blog and I can say this is inspiring. I have 4 kids and every Sunday when I attend mass it is hard to focus on the mass in between making sure my kids behave and pay attention. This allows me a second chance to give my full attention. I truly thank you that we have been blessed to have you as a priest.