My brief vocation story is that before entering the seminary, I worked for PLDT. One reason for the difficulty in discernment is that back then, there was nothing to compare my life in PLDT to the life of a seminarian. Had it been transferring from one company to another, the decision-making would have been easier because I could compare the tangibles. I could compare apples to apples. How much was my salary in PLDT? How much would I be getting in company X? Where is the location of company X? Is it near the house or farther? What is the working environment like? Who will be my boss? Is the job something I am more passionate about? Back then, when I was applying to the seminary, the only thing that they could offer was, “COME AND SEE.”
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus was very straightforward to those who wished to follow him. Certainly, they saw that Jesus was famous, powerful, and held in high esteem, but there are three things Jesus focuses on about following him:
- Trust – “The Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” When one follows Christ, one can expect the unexpected. In fact, everyone God called in the Old Testament to be a prophet had a reason not to respond. One thing was certain though when we look at the ones who said yes. God can be trusted. If He calls, he will provide the graces. As the saying goes, “Do not stay in the boat when God is calling you to step on the water.”
- Urgency – “Let the dead bury the dead.” At first, it sounds insensitive, especially if a family is grieving and dealing with loss. Yet what He wants to emphasize is that more important than worldly concerns are the concerns about the Kingdom of God. Seek first the kingdom of God. Frederick Buechner, the American writer and theologian, has a famous quote: “God calls us to a place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
- Determination – “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” One cannot be double-hearted because one side is weak and easily discouraged. As someone once said, “You are most tempted to quit when you are closest to your calling.” God wants our 100 percent and he responds with 200 percent.
That is why in each Mass we remember that:
- All of us here have our own calling and mission. It is not only the religious.
- Bring the Kingdom of God to your calling and mission. Bring the Good news of God to your workplace.
- In closing, let me share with you a quote of Ricardo Sanchez, he said, “The devil knows your name but calls you by your sin. God knows your sin, but call you by your name.” May we respond with trust, urgency, and determination.