By Christina Hermoso
The Holy Father Pope Francis called on the faithful “to have the courage to take a risk with the Lord and for the Lord,” as Roman Catholics mark the 56th World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
Reflecting on the Gospel narrative of the calling of the first disciples of Jesus by the Sea of Galilee (Mk 1:16-20), the Pontiff, in his message for Vocation Sunday, gave as example how brothers Simon and Andrew encountered difficulties as fishermen, sometimes coming home “weary and disappointed.”
“Much of life is like that. Each of us tries to realize his or her deepest desires. We engage in activities that we hope will prove enriching, and we put out on a ‘sea’ of possibilities in the hope of steering the right course, one that will satisfy our thirst for happiness. Sometimes we enjoy a good catch, while at others, we need courage to keep our boat from being tossed by the waves, or we are frustrated at seeing our nets come up empty,” Pope Francis said.
The calling for a life of vocation, the Holy Father emphasized, involves being courageous amid the risks.
“Responding to the Lord’s call involves putting ourselves on the line and facing a great challenge. It means being ready to leave behind whatever would keep us tied to our little boat and prevent us from making a definitive choice. We are called to be bold and decisive in seeking God’s plan for our lives,” he stressed.
“Such a decision carries the risk of leaving everything behind to follow the Lord, to devote ourselves completely to Him, and to share in His work. Many kinds of interior resistance can stand in the way of making this decision, especially in highly secularized contexts where there no longer seems to be a place for God and for the Gospel. Places where it is easy to grow discouraged and fall into the weariness of hope. And yet, there can be no greater joy than to risk one’s life for the Lord!” Pope Francis added.
The Pontiff called on the youth to be open and courageous in dealing with the risks that go with being ‘called.’
“I would like to say this especially to you, the young. Do not be deaf to the Lord’s call. If He calls you to follow this path, do not pull your oars into the boat, but trust Him. Do not yield to fear, which paralyzes us before the great heights to which the Lord points us. Always remember that to those who leave their nets and boat behind, and follow Him, the Lord promises the joy of a new life that can fill our hearts and enliven our journey,” he said.
Also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, this year’s theme is: “The courage to take a risk for God’s promise.” The observance calls on the faithful “to pray for an increase of vocations to priesthood and consecrated life as a special gift to the entire Church.”
The Prayer for Vocations will be recited in all masses today, which is also observed as the Fourth Sunday of Easter. A Holy Hour for Vocations to be participated in by different Church ministries and organizations will also be held.
Masses and intentions will be offered for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.