Fr. Raymond Gramata, Pastor
February 7, 2016
Today might be caled “Vocation Sunday” because of the first reading from the Prophet Isaiah and the Gospel passage from Saint Luke. We are privileged to hear from Isaiah how he realized that he had a calling from God: “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips….Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember….He touched my mouth with it, and said, ‘…your wickedness is removed your sin is purged’. Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ Here I am, I said send me.” In the gospel, Jesus said to Simon: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men. They left everything and followed him.” Both of them accepted their vocation and became followers of God. Both were willing to do all that God asked them to do.
As we approach Lent this Wednesday, like Isaiah and Peter we also have received a vocation - we are a sent people. That vocation is to follow Jesus. Lent is the time of year where we need to assess our record to see how faithfully we are following Jesus. Lent is more than just giving up things that we will go back to as soon as Lent is over. It is about living out our faith 24/7 - 365 days a year. Lent is about recharging our spiritual batteries. As we know from the Scriptures, Jesus went to the mountain to pray. He knew that He had to be focused on His relationship with His Father. Just as we have to be focused on our relationship with Jesus. It is so easy to lose our concentration and be caught up in worldly activities.
On Ash Wednesday, when receive ashes, you will hear either the traditional or the new saying as ashes are placed on your forehead. The traditional saying is “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The new saying is “Repent, and believe in the Gospel.” Both remind us that we were not created to live forever here on earth and that our lives have to be geared around our relationship with our God. It is not just enough to say I am a faithful follower of Sunday Mass. Like Isaiah, we are a sent people called to live out our faith on a daily basis. Let us recall the old Latin phrase for the conclusion of Mass: “Ite, missa est.” It means that we are sent. Today we say: “The Mass is ended. Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” May our God bless whatever activities you choose to celebrate this Lenten season.