It’s easy enough for any of us to put off until tomorrow what we are feeling called to today. Call it procrastination, lack of motivation, avoidance (especially in vocation discernment); whatever we might call it – this is exactly what Jesus cautions us against today. He cautions the Jewish faithful first. Those in His hearing accepted the Covenant but were not able to go the extra step in accepting salvation through Jesus Christ. Accepting faith is an important beginning, aspiring for holiness through a prayerful and contemplative life, a generous life in Christ is important and should never be diminished in any way. What happens next can often be where we too begin to find excuses in our lives. I know it well, because I did it and I have met many along the way who have also held back from answering the call the Lord has made.
When I had attended a vocation discernment retreat that had helped me to believe that the Lord might be calling me to consider priesthood, I remember convincing myself that I should wait on it, the Lord won’t mind so long as I keep living a good life. I was in my early 30’s at the time, and could retire from my job when I was 52 – I could answer the call then. It was my mother, dying and having just turned 52 who told me not to live life with regrets of what I could have done and didn’t who motivated me to move forward in discernment and face the fears I had. She spoke for Jesus in my life. We all need to consider these words as we consider what the Lord might be calling us to. There are many men and women for whom vocation directors work closely with and see strong attributes of the vocations they are discerning who decide to take a step back. This can be a great disappointment. This would not be everyone; some men I work with decide to finish college or university, some who are finishing high school work and feel they need to experience the world a little bit and have good and sound reasons for this – these are different cases. These are men and women who are continuing to answer their vocational calls but are being formed so as to relate to people – an important attribute in a religious vocation. But there are others who will hardly or never feel ready, and there are some whom I have worked with that it is disappointing because you know they have a lot to offer, but can’t bring themselves to ‘just do it’.
But the Good News is there is a simple solution, to hear the Gospel with fresh ears and a fresh perspective, to hear it and respond to it. To examine ourselves and see what we aren’t doing and begin to turn things around knowing that God’s grace will bring us the rest of the way. And that goes for me too. There are even things as a priest which in my own examination of conscience, I know I avoid and could deal with and grow close to God – this Gospel is for all of us we must do what the Lord is calling us to now, and we must not put off until tomorrow, because tomorrow might very well be too late.