A few weeks ago in the Sunday gospel, we heard the confession of St. Peter (Mt. 16:13-20). Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter rightly answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” But a few verses later, Jesus also says to Peter, “Get behind me Satan! You are an obstacle to me.” How does Peter, the rock of the Church, become associated with the prince of darkness so quickly? The simple answer is that Peter doesn’t want to accept the suffering and death that our Lord would have to undergo in Jerusalem. Jesus’ response may sound like a rebuke, and I think on one level it is, but his strong command for Peter to get behind him might also be his way of saying, “follow me.”
God has a plan for every person, and even though we may not understand what that plan may be, he calls each person by name to follow him. All of us have a vocation—to the single life, the married life, or the religious life—and every vocation includes sacrifice. Later in the same scripture passage, Jesus instructs the disciples “to take up his cross.” This command to “take up” is not just a matter of accepting sacrifice because there is no way around it and so we must resolve ourselves to it. Rather, the Lord is asking us to willingly embrace sacrifice, as he did on the cross. For it is only in laying down our life for others that we gain eternal life.
If you are discerning a possible vocation to the priesthood or religious life, I encourage to you to consider what it means to embrace sacrifice, to lay down your life for something and someone greater than yourself, for in doing so we find fulfillment and joy in this life and in the life to come.
Please contact the Vocations Office for more information about following the call of God in your life. (405) 721-9351.