No exemptions from discipleship

By | July 11, 2012

How is your vocation coming along? No, I am not interested in how things are going in your marriage, what new things are happening in your religious community, how many people you anointed this week or the trials of cooking for one. I’m not talking about married life, religious life, priesthood or the single state. I am talking about your “other” vocation. You know, the one we all share. The one that is implied, or stated outright by the priest or deacon every single time we go to Mass. “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”

Your vocation to discipleship, how is that one going? What is most difficult about this question is if we answer, “Well it is coming along just great,” we probably are not trying hard enough. In the first reading for this Sunday, the job description for “vocation to be a disciple” is demanding. Amos is a shepherd with no real qualifications to be a prophet. But, God demands of him and expects. “Go, prophesy.”

Well what’s good for Amos is good for us. So much for our listening to the sacred Scripture and sharing in Eucharist and thinking we are exempt from discipleship. It is not reserved to everyone else, the people in church who went to a Catholic college or those who attend the evening adult ed classes. “Go (everyone) and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”

In the second reading, St. Paul tells us our vocation is to discipleship. Unlike our life vocation, where we pray, discern and actually choose to say “yes” or “no” to a particular way of living, the vocation of discipleship is a given, sealed at the day of our baptism and renewed at every liturgy we attend. “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”

As I was reflecting on the first two readings, I thought to myself, “Really, this can be done. I can handle this ‘disciple of the Lord’ command,” but then there is the Gospel. Take nothing but a walking stick? No food, money, no extra clothes, no reservations at a good motel? Is it any wonder many of us have selective hearing when it comes to “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.” Couldn’t we just send an email?

However, if we see the liturgy as the living rite that prepares us for the vocation at hand, it is clear that Jesus’ command to take nothing is not a challenge of denial, but one of abundance. The Holy Spirit goes before us, as a spiritual GPS. We need only follow with our walking stick (the grace of the liturgy) to steady us. We have been fed the very gift of Eucharist, what other need is there for food? As for extra clothes, our baptismal garment, the official uniform of our vocation does the job quite nicely. And when we need a place to rest, what more can any of us hope for than to rest in the Lord. The journey lies before us, not always easy, but always with Christ’s assurance; “Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”

Zahorik is director of worship at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Oshkosh.

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