This Sunday we begin our celebration of Vocations Awareness Week in Scotland – a time when we are encouraged to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life.
Both within and outwith the Catholic community, people often wonder what a life of service in the Church actually entails. What does it mean to be a priest, deacon or religious sister in contemporary Scotland? What is involved in serving the Church in the face of rising secularism and seemingly widespread religious indifference? A powerful response is encountered in this weekend’s Gospel. Through the use of three parables, Jesus offers us a perfect template of ministry – that ministry is to seek out that which is lost.
Getting or being lost is a common experience. At one time or another, we have all been there……. lost in airports or in train stations or on the way home from a night out. We have panicked when we’ve realised we’ve taken the wrong turn or that the sat-nav isn’t working or that our surroundings aren’t very familiar.
But in the Scriptures and in the tradition of the Church, ‘being lost’ isn’t just about being in the wrong place – it’s not simply an issue of geographic dislocation – rather it’s about becoming disconnected from God, disconnected from the family of faith and disengaged from who we really are and who we are called to be.
In our communities there are so many who find themselves spiritually ‘lost’. We think of so many of our young people ‘lost’ in an arid and desolate cultural landscape. We think of those who are lost in the worlds of addiction – where everything is hurting and nothing has meaning. We think of those who have been forgotten by the world and ‘lost’ in a sea of societal indifference and apathy – the poor, the elderly and the unborn. We think of those who have wandered far from the faith – ‘lost’ in the frenetic busyness of everyday life.
Our Priests, deacons and religious are called and chosen to find all of the ‘lost’ – they are challenged to be the good shepherd, to be the woman who will not rest until she has found that missing drachma and to be the Father who’s heart is restless until his prodigal Son has returned. They are called, to bring the ‘lost’ to the House of Our Heavenly Father where there is always hope, light and love.
Wherever there is human need and wherever there is human suffering whether in Scotland or abroad you will always encounter the Catholic Church – offering comfort, restoring hope and ‘finding’ what is true, beautiful and good in human life.
This week pray for more vocations to the Priesthood, Diaconate and Religious life. Encourage all those who are engaged in ministry in your community and finally, discern whether you could be called to the Priesthood, Diaconate or religious life.
Bishop John Keenan