29th Sunday of Ordinary Time – Cycle C
Ex 17:8-13; Psalm 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; 2 Tm 3:14-4:2; Gospel: Lk 18:1-8
I want to teach you a very short prayer and song today – so I brought my conductors baton to help out. The prayer is “Veni Sancte Spiritus” which is Latin for “Come Holy Spirit”
[[START WITH A CONDUCTORS BATON – ASK THE WOMEN IN THE PARISH TO STAND AND TEACH THEM THE HIGHER PART TO VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS
THANK THEM AND THEN ASK THE MEN TO STAND AND DO THEIR PART – THE BASE PART
An image of God - the Choir Master
I am sure that some of you were not expecting to come to choir practice today. The reason why I asked you to sing is because I would like to give you an image of God that you might not have – that is the image of God the Choir-Master.
A Good Choir Master seeks the best out of each singer
A Choir Master is the leader of a choir who helps everyone to sing in unison, on key and to the same tune or melody. A good choir master will see the talents of his singers and then find the right part’s for them to sing in the choir.
Christ is the best Football Coach
However, this is Bronco’s season so perhaps a better image is that God is like a good football coach. If you have ever had the opportunity to train under a good coach then you have an idea of what I am talking about. Think back to those days in practice when the coach pushed you harder than you thought you could go – he was always encouraging you to run a little faster, to hit a little harder. Bit by bit you were molded into the player that he always knew you could.
Each one of us has a vocation to fill – just like Moses
Last week we started to preach about vocations here in the parish. The first reading gives us an idea of how God uses each persons individual vocation to bring about His kingdom. In the first reading today God is very much acting in the coach role. A superior army that is attacking them to destroy them outnumbers the Israelites. God uses the vocations of various people to protect his children. He uses Moses to pray, and Aaron and Hur are to help Moses in his prayer. Joshua is the general and it is his vocation to plan the fight and to choose the men to fight it. The chosen men are the soldiers who carry the fight to the enemy and ultimately bring about the victory. Would God have been glorified if Moses had prayed but did not have the help of Aaron and Hur, or if Joshua planned the battle but the chosen men did not fight? No, it took everyone responding to their vocation to bring victory for God’s people.
God is calling each of us to our own vocation
The same is true for our Church today. God is calling each of us to our particular vocations. It is up to us to listen to that call and then to respond to God with our hearts. God is the coach calling each of us here our vocations – the questions are; do we hear Him and do we have the courage to say “Yes” to Him?
Some of us here today are asking the questions “What is a Vocation?” or “How do I discover my vocation?”
What is a Vocation?
At the core our vocation is who God created us to be. It is fundamentally who we are. When we discover our vocation our response is “I should have been doing this all my life!” – It radically changes our understanding of who we are and makes us more complete, more whole and more purely who God is creating us to be.
How do we discover our Vocation(s)?
The first step to discovering what our vocation is to enter into a relationship with God. When we take time in our lives to invite God into our relationships and into our work, then we can begin to listen to the directions that our Heavenly Coach is giving us.
Discovering Diakonia in the Colorado Prairie
For me, I discovered my vocation to be a Deacon while I was helping out at a retreat center in North Eastern Colorado called the Peace Huts. I moved to Colorado 22 years ago after I got out of the Navy. I did not know anyone in town except for my immediate family. I was studying in college when I met some young adults at Spirit of Christ Catholic Church. One of them was trying to build a retreat center out near Akron but needed help with organization. God used my skills in organizing to help to get the retreat center built. Along the way I began to share my life with Him and He began to share His dreams for my life with me.
One of the dreams God had for me was to be a Deacon. I told him that he would have to first convince my wife, and I stopped worrying about the problem.
Flying home from Rome
Two years later on a plane flying back from Rome my wife Tina turned to Father George who was accompanying us and asked him if I had spoken to him about the Diaconate. You could have knocked me over with a feather because I realized in an instance how serious God was in his dream for me. Tina and I spent the next three years discussing and discerning what this vocation would mean for us and our family and finally in 2003 I entered the seminary and began to study to be a Deacon.
What have I discovered since being ordained?
Last year I called a friend of mine from Wisconsin. When she picked up the phone she said – “You seem really upbeat today, what have you been doing?” It was Sunday and I had spent the day here at the parish, serving the Mass, baptizing a baby, and visiting the sick in the nursing home. I was excited. The funny thing about being a Deacon for me is that it is not draining but energizing. I think that the reason why is that when I am serving God with all of my heart and my soul I am able to meet people in the most profound moments of their lives and see how God is working with them – what an amazing experience.
What can each one of us do to better understand our own vocation?
But enough about me, how about you? The first thing that each and everyone of us can do is to begin to share our lives with God. When we get up in the morning ask Him what His will is with us. Be open to the idea that God might be coaching us for something we haven’t even dared to dream about. Reflect on the souls of our children. Ask God to provide for them out of his abundant love. Help our children to better understand God’s will for them in their lives.
Pray for the members of our parish who are pursuing their vocation
There are men and women in our parish who are trying to figure out if they are called to be a Priest, or a Deacon or a Sister. They have the courage to consider the God’s call in their lives. There are men and women in our parish who are discerning if God is calling them to be married to one another. Pray for them that God helps them to choose His will. We have three seminarians who are currently preparing for ordained life. Arturo Ariza, one of our own parishioners who used to lead the Hombres para Cristo is studying to be a Deacon. Ryan Tydball and Brother Clarance Wetegrove are preparing for the priesthood and are here. The Franciscans in the Convent have another 3 men who are spending this year asking God if they are called to follow Jesus as Franciscan Brothers. Pray for them.
Do we have the courage to live God’s Dreams? Veni Sancte Spiritus…
In the Gospel today Christ teaches us that God’s dreams for us are greater than we can imagine. If a wicked judge will give a just judgment to a nagging widow then how much more will God give us what is good? Do we have the audacity to live God’s Dreams for our lives? Let us pray for God to give us that courage!
[[FINISH BY SINGING VENI SANCTE SPIRITUS TWICE THROUGH]].