" ITREALMS: Discover, follow your vocation says Fr. Simon Peter Dzungwe

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Discover, follow your vocation says Fr. Simon Peter Dzungwe

Sunday Sermon@ITREALMS:
Beloved friends, today’s readings, especially the first reading and the gospel, speak to us about hearing and answering the call of God. It is about vocations. Our vocation in life is that lifestyle or occupation, which not only fulfills the will of God for us, but also grants us the highest fulfillment and makes us happiest, and at the same time is to our greatest benefit and the benefit of our fellow humans.

In the first reading, we have an account of how God called Samuel to be a prophet, and the religious and temporal leader of his people Israel. It was a position then occupied by Eli, who is also mentioned in that reading, but who was already old. Samuel was still a young child then. He served under Eli at the shrine at Shiloh, until Eli died. At the death of Eli, he took over. He became the spiritual, religious, and temporal leader of the people of Israel. In the gospel we are presented with an account of two men who heard and answered the call of God, Andrew and Simon Peter.

There are a number of things that we can learn from today’s readings. Firstly, each of us has a call in life. God calls each of us to a particular vocation in life, and it is in that vocation that we will find the highest happiness and fulfillment in our lives, and the greatest benefit to others. In other words, our vocation in life is something of great importance. We need to discover and follow our vocations in life. 

We really need to. But discovering our vocation in life is never easy. Samuel in the first reading needed the experience and wisdom of Eli to hear and answer the call of God. Even after he answered initially, he still needed the help of Eli to understand how to follow his vocation on a day to day basis in his life. In the gospel of today, we see that Andrew needed the help of john the Baptist to answer God’s call, and he in turn helped his brother Simon Peter. 

We all need the help of others to answer God’s call. It is the duty of parents, guardians, and significant adults to help young people hear and answer God’s call. And this has to be done selflessly and prayerfully. The selfish intentions of adults should have no place in it.

Second, there are also calls within a call, or vocation within a vocation. Even after we have discovered our vocations, after we have heard and answered God’s call, we need to be attentive to the Holy Spirit because God can call us to something higher, he may want us to take another step forward. Peter the apostle was first called to be an apostle, but later he was called to be the leader of the apostles and leader of the church.

Pope Francis was first called to be a priest, later a bishop; but now he has been called to be the pope. Oscar Romero of El Salvador was first called to be a priest, later called to be a bishop, and later again called to be a voice for the voiceless and oppressed people of his society. Martin Luther King Jnr was first called to be a father and a preacher, but later called to be the voice to challenge the injustice in the American society of his day. Mahatma Gandhi was first called to be a lawyer, but later called to be the one to lead his people non-violently into independence.

What about you! What about me! Even though we may have answered the first call of God, we need to be attentive to the Spirit of God lest God is calling us to take another step forward, lest God is calling us again within our initial call. And for young people who are yet to discover their vocations in life and answer the voice of God, please listen attentively to God, and when you have heard his voice, please answer him, and like Samuel, say, ‘here I am lord. Speak for your servant is listening.

*Contributed by Rev. Fr. Simon Peter Dzungwe from the Catholic Archdiocese of Ibadan.

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