Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!
As we listen and reflect on the readings at today’s Sunday Mass, we see how the Lord requires the help of generous disciples to help Him in his work of bringing the news of His Father’s love and care to the world. And it is a requirement which still stands!
In his Confessions, or spiritual autobiography, St. Augustine of Hippo long ago remarked that if no good men came forward we would be unable to receive the sacraments. The words of this great saint continue to ring true.
The Evangelist Mark in his very crisp style relates the call of the two sets of brothers and fishermen by the Sea of Galilee. The Lord Jesus was walking by and called them to follow Him. We are told that their reaction was spontaneous and prompt: they left their nets there and then and accept the invitation to become fishermen of an altogether different kind. Along with the other apostles Jesus would call, Peter and his fellow-fishermen would form part of His closest collaborators and friends, the ‘college of the Twelve.’
With the exception of Judas, these disciples would remain faithful and committed to the person and work of the Lord. Are there young men in our parishes today prepared to hear and act on the invitation which the Lord extends? And are parents, families, and parish communities generous and willing enough to pray for them and encourage them in accepting the Lord’s call?
Put simply, the Church of today, and especially tomorrow, greatly needs the generosity of young men, and those who surround and influence them, if the good news of the Lord Jesus is to be heard and His grace-filled sacraments be made accessible to the people He died on the cross for. God’s mercy and forgiveness came to the people of Nineveh thanks to the preaching of Jonah. His words made a difference, for God spoke through him despite his initial reluctance to go and bring words of healing to the Ninevites.
Where would we be without the inspired writings of the four Evangelists or the letters of St. Paul the apostle? We are the heirs of two–thousand years of witness of saints and martyrs who have ensured that the faith has been faithfully transmitted to us. But remember that each one of these had to make their own definite answer to the call of Christ.
Our pressing need in the Diocese of Lancaster is for young men to listen to Christ and offer themselves as his future priests. Ultimately, of course, it is Christ who first invites – but He uses so many others to facilitate young people in answering His call.
Can each one of us in the Diocese make possible again in our day the response of the young Isaiah to God’s question in the Temple at Jerusalem? And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “whom shall I send to this people”, and I said, “here am I! Send me.” (Is. 6:8)
Until next week – let us pray for each other and for priestly vocations,
As ever in Christ our Lord,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster