“You give them something to eat”
When we reflect on the idea of vocation, our immediate response might be somewhat akin to that of the disciples in today’s Gospel passage. Faced with the hungry crowd, their initial response was one of inadequacy. Their solution was for Jesus to send the crowd away so that the people could get lodging and provisions. Jesus’ response was for the disciples simply to give everything they had, and it turned out to be enough.
As disciples, Jesus calls us to respond to the needs of our community, particularly of those whose lives cry out for freedom from oppression, poverty, racism and every other condition that prevents them from being fully the people God created them to be. Faced with the vastness of the task, we can either respond out of our feelings of inadequacy and turn away from the call, or we can hear Jesus’ invitation to give everything we have and trust that it will be enough.
This willingness to give everything we have and trust that it will be enough is at the heart of understanding the meaning of vocation. God calls each one of us in a general way as well as in a particular way. First of all, we are called into relationship with God and one another within the community of faith, gathered around the table of the Eucharist. This in our primary or general vocation. Within the vocation to be a disciple of Jesus, each one of us is also called to a particular vocation; married, single, religious, cleric, parent, teacher, mechanic, etc. No matter what our particular vocation, we are called to respond to the needs of others, to make Christ present in our world and continue to build the kingdom. Faced with the particular call from God, we are invited to trust that if we respond, if we give everything we have, it will be enough, and more than enough. God doesn’t call us to the impossible, but to the possible, given the particular gifts and graces each of us has been given.
Reflecting on the gospel passage, perhaps the experience of feeding the crowd was what give the disciples the courage and faith to respond to their call to proclaim the Good News to the whole world. As we look to their example, we now are called to continue to proclaim and be the Good News to others.
By Richard Beaudette, OMI
Vocation Team East