Courage and call
Today is also the memorial of Saint John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests and of many seminaries.
Taken altogether, we have powerful messages about courage and hearing God’s call.
There are many among us who are hearing the call of God to the religious life. There are many young men who are hearing the call of God to the priesthood.
Some of them, tragically, are listening more to the temptations of selfishness, the noise of the world, the legitimate complaints against a few priests and religious, and whispers of doubt.
The whispers of doubt may even try to build on this verse from the second of today’s Gospel options (Matthew 15:1-2, 10-14): “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted.”
To be sure, discernment is critical, but wallowing in doubt is not discernment.
Pray, study, pray, frequent the sacraments, pray, consult with multiple holy people, and pray.
We should also hear the words of the first of today’s Gospel options (Matthew 14:22-36):
Peter said to him in reply,
“Lord, if it is you,
command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.”
Peter got out of the boat
and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.
But when he saw how strong the wind was
he became frightened;
and, beginning to sink,
he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand
and caught him,
and said to him,
“O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
We must discern carefully and prayerfully, but no matter what God is calling us to do, as the hymn says,
Let us turn to Jesus.
Let our choice be strong.