Dear St. Martin’s Parishioners,
In this Sunday’s gospel, Peter receives his vocation from Christ: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” Vocation means “calling.” From the very beginning of time, God calls creation into being: “Let there be light”; “Let us make man in our image and likeness.” God calls us into relationship with him from the first moment of our existence, as we heard in last Sunday’s first reading from Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you.”
It used to be thought that someone who had a vocation was called to be a priest or religious. The Second Vatican Council emphatically challenged this narrow vision of vocation: “All the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord, each in his own way, to that perfect holiness whereby the Father Himself is perfect.” All the baptized are called by God to holiness, whether through marriage, the single life, consecrated life or priesthood. The call to holiness is universal and not just for a select few. Everyone is called to be a saint. St. John Paul II canonized more saints during his pontificate than had been canonized in the previous 600 years! What message was he communicating? The ordinary path of every Christian is sainthood, that is, a life of deep interpersonal communion with God. If only every one of us knew and really believed that we are called and equipped for sanctity!
How do you and I become saints? In whatever state of life we find ourselves, we unite ourselves—our joys, prayers, work and sufferings—with Christ, and bear witness to Christ through a life of faith, hope and love. We increase our union with Christ through prayer and the sacraments, and in ways unique to each one of us, we build up God’s Kingdom through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Sanctity in the end is simple: we seek to love as we are loved. Life is so much more fulfilling and meaningful when lived out of this reality. No aspect or moment of our lives is unimportant or insignificant in God’s dramatic love story with each one of us. In a world where many are bored, distracted, unfulfilled, disoriented, fearful and grasping for meaning, it is all the more urgent that we respond generously to God’s call to us in Christ.