Grounded in a Call to Love
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In the Gospel passage for this 3rd Sunday of Easter, the resurrected Jesus, after appearing to his apostles at the Sea of Tiberias, asks Peter three times “do you love me.”
It might seem like an odd question for one man to ask another, but Jesus knew that genuine love is what ultimately motivates sinners to change their ways. Peter had already come a long way, but his role as Prince of the Apostles was going to demand much more from him in the years to come and Jesus knew that. Peter would have to sacrifice much, and only genuine love would empower him to make such sacrifices. Thus, the three-fold inquiry, “Peter, do you love me?”
Next Sunday, May 8th, is the 59th anniversary of the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Because of the observance of Mother’s Day here in the U.S., our parish is observing the Day of Prayer for Vocations this weekend. The word “vocation” comes from the Latin word for “to be called.” All vocations in the Church, whether it be to sacramental marriage, ordained ministry (priest, deacon, or bishop), or to the consecrated life of a religious sister or brother, must all be grounded in a call to love. First in the love of God and then in the genuine love of others.
Genuine love always demands sacrifice, a denying of oneself for the sake of the other. Our modern world, for many reasons, causes many to turn in on themselves and be hesitant to make a serious commitment to others. I recently received some statistics that said that ordinations to the priesthood have decreased by 38% since 1970, but the Catholic marriage rate has collapsed a shocking 77% over the same period. These are troubling statistics and reflect, I think, a lack of commitment to commitment; a fear of loving in a sacrificial way.
God continues to call men and women to vocations in the Church. I ask you to pray that the hearts of men and women be open and generous in responding to God’s call, trusting that if He calls them, He will provide the help needed to be faithful to that call. Consider joining the “31 Club” an initiative started here at Ascension in 2018 to pray for vocations. See details elsewhere in this bulletin or in the gathering space about the “31 Club”.
Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,