In today’s Gospel passage, we hear this about Jesus:
“At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.’”
Again, in our times, the harvest is abundant, but the laborers are few. Specifically, the Church needs more priests to serve the people of God.
This world values professions in medicine, law, finance, and others. Those professions are certainly very honorable. Families take great pride when their sons and daughters enter these careers.
Priest, though, are doctors of souls. They are spiritual fathers. As honorable as those other secular professions are, the priesthood should be considered at least as honorable. Those others might help people or accumulate success in this life. They help to set others and themselves up well on this earth. But priests prepare people for the next life. They take care of the spiritual needs of people while others might care for their physical needs.
Without priests, there is no Eucharist. Confession and Anointing of the Sick cannot happen without priests. Priests are needed for us to have parishes. In mission territories where the shortage of priests is most acute, people can go weeks or months without seeing a priest.
God calls enough priests. However, not enough men are answering that call. The reasons are numerous. The culture pulls men away from the priesthood. Parents and friends do not nurture the call that a man receives. They might speak poorly of the priests that they have. Worst case, they react badly when a man says that he is considering the priesthood. Some priests might even be reluctant to ask one of their eligible parishioners the simple question, “Have you considered the priesthood?”
One of the most important influences on men being called to the priesthood is Eucharistic Adoration. Saint Catherine’s is so blessed to have Adoration already. I pray that the future sees this Adoration become even more integrated into the life of the parish. I pray that more and more young people will experience Adoration as part of Youth and Encounter here. I also pray that a culture continues to be built where young men are encouraged to answer the call that God is already giving them.
There is no greater joy to be found than when you do what God is calling you to do.