Monday, February 01, 2010

4th Sunday - homily

You might have seen the story on the internet this week about the professional baseball player who is quitting baseball to become a priest. Totally cool! Grant Desme is a 23 year old up-and-coming star with the Oakland Athletics who believes that God is calling him to be a priest, so he is acting on it immediately. It’s an incredible story and one that has caught many people off guard. But, it’s not a new story. A couple of years ago, there was a professional soccer player who retired in the prime of his career to enter the seminary. I know of a woman in the ‘90s who was a great college basketball player at a major university who entered the convent right after college; she is now a cloistered nun. Cloistered, whoa! A friend of mine was an all-American basketball player in college. She could have gone to the WNBA but chose to get married and raise children. These are great and heroic examples of people who had everything at their fingertips – money, fame, and success. They chose to follow their calling, their vocation instead. They chose love over all of those things. We have examples in our own community, too. There have been eight men and women who have entered seminary or a religious community after GW. They, too, chose their vocation over careers in politics, government, law, medicine, etc. They chose love. What examples they are to all of us!

Every one of you has a vocation, a calling from God. Every person in this Church, at this university, in this country, in this world has a vocation. It’s either to the married life, the religious life, or the single life. Your job is to figure out to which one God is calling you. Most of you are called to marriage, but some of you are called to be religious and some of you are called to be single. As we heard in the first reading, God gave you your vocation before you were born! He has put you on this earth for a reason. He has a plan for you that involves living out love in a particular vocation. What is the best way to find your vocation? I will reveal that in a few moments.

You are preparing for your vocation right now. You are preparing for love. So, you should be asking yourselves, “how do I prepare? What is love?” St Paul offers you a lot of help in today’s second reading. If you’ve been to Catholic weddings, you’ve probably heard this reading (1 Cor 12) before: “love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous…love never fails”. This is the Christian model for love. You can compare this model to your lives right now. For example, if you’re in a dating relationship, is it patient? Have you been patient in every stage of the relationship? If so, it is love. But, if you’ve rushed through the stages and been impatient, then it’s not love. This is the model of the world that comes to us mainly from movies and television. It’s the model that says to rush through friendship into romance…into sex. It’s the model that so many young people follow and that experts say is preparation not for marriage, but for divorce. It’s the model that has led to a 50% divorce rate in our country. Please…don’t follow this model. Follow the model of love. Love is patient. Love waits. Please wait and be patient… for the sake of love and for the sake of your relationship.

The Church also goes deeper in looking at love. Mainly with the help of Pope John Paul II, it has defined love as “gift of self”. Love means giving yourself to another. Love means sacrifice. If you really love someone, you are willing to sacrifice for them in big and small ways. Jesus says there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends (Jn 15). This will be the focus of our retreat next month, “No Greater Love”. We will focus on what it means to sacrifice…what it means to love. It will be a great weekend to help you prepare for your vocation. We will have student leaders who will tell their stories about how they have already entered into sacrifice for others…how they already entered into the greatest love. It will be powerful! You will hear from one of these leaders at the end of Mass.

Finally, the best way to find your vocation is through the Eucharist. I am utterly convinced of this because I’ve seen it happen with so many people. If you stay close to the Eucharist, I promise you will find your vocation. This means coming to Mass regularly and receiving the Eucharist regularly, coming to Adoration, making chapel visits…having a relationship with Christ in the Eucharist. It leads to us saying, “Jesus, you gave me your life, how can I give you my life?” He is the example for us in living out a vocation. He lived out the Father’s Plan even though it meant sacrifice; we hear of the beginnings of this sacrifice in today’s Gospel. He is the example and the source of our vocations. He has given you a vocation. He is calling you to something great! To whatever He is calling you, there is your happiness. God doesn’t want you to be miserable, so to whatever He is calling you will make you happy.

Through the help of Jesus in the Eucharist, may you find your vocation…may you find the reason God has put you on this earth…may you find the love to which He is calling you. And, in the process, may you find true happiness that God has desired for you since He formed you in the womb.


Anonymous said...

Good homily! I think it's especially important considering how much pressure society puts on us to rush into/through everything... that we should take the time to find our calling and experience happiness.

Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing, I couldn’t help thinking of the following when looking at Feb 2nd's readings:

Mal 3: 1-4


Psalm 24, 7-10


Song of Simeon (Lk 2)



Anonymous said...

The irony of it all is that we tend to be a "Hurry up to wait" society, especially when we jump in our cars. And yet, when we "hurry up" a relationship, we realize, often after the fact, that there really is a benefit to the "waiting" component.