Lead some to Jesus Christ and ‘Wake Up the World’

Father James Wilcox

Vocations Director

North Texas Catholic

4/28/2015

In these joyous days of Easter, we find ourselves plunging deep into the lives of the Apostles after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, as they embark upon their ministerial duties. It seems now, in the time of the resurrected Christ, Peter has come into his own, with a courageous and bold manner of preaching the Gospel message. Peter’s fervent trust in the Lord is infectious for the other Apostles and efficacious for those to whom he ministers. 

A few short weeks ago we somberly heard of Peter’s denial of Jesus Christ in the Passion narratives. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen reminds us, prior to the crucifixion Peter was able to confess the divine Christ, but upon the arrest, Peter was not able to confess the suffering Christ. However, after an experience of the empty tomb at Easter and his experience of the resurrected Christ, this first pope vigorously defends Christians and dynamically proclaims Jesus Christ as Lord.

In the midst of seeing Peter’s transformation, we should reflect back to the beginning of his call to follow Jesus Christ in such an intimate way. It was Peter’s brother who brought him to the Christ. In actuality, Andrew brought so many to Christ, hence the reason our discernment events for men considering the priesthood bear his name. All of us need an Andrew in our life to bring us to knowledge of relationship with Jesus Christ. Encouraging others to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ is a magnanimous endeavor, in which each of us must strive. 

Young people in their teens and early 20s are working diligently to determine what we want to do in life. I remember for one great week of determination, I was certain I was going to be a meteorologist. (Any job where you have to be right only 50 percent of the time is surely an attractive profession!) With the help of my supportive parents, I went out and bought some supplies — a laminated map of the US, markers, etc. — so that I could chart weather movements. You can imagine that as quick as the weather changes in Texas, so did my interest in this profession. It is quite likely that as a precocious teenager, this was not my first — nor would it be my last — professional endeavor met with wholehearted enthusiasm at the beginning and complete apathy a mere week later.

A profession, like meteorology, is different than a call to priesthood and religious life. We simply have to look at the motto for the Year of Consecrated Life — Wake Up the World — to recognize the difference. Of course, the rightly-aligned heart of a person who offers their work to God in their professional life does signal to others the love of God moving throughout our lives. Clearly on a different level altogether, those who consecrate their lives through priesthood, the diaconate, and religious life (sisters, brothers, monks, nuns), are called to live a life that shakes the world to recognizing the presence of Jesus Christ among us. 

In bringing people to Christ, consecrated men and women use the example of their lives to wake people from the stupor of secularism. Following the example of the Apostle Andrew, all of us together must strive to see that each person is brought to Jesus Christ — through knowing Him and through an experience of Him. See in these days of our liturgical readings how the Apostles’ faith is fully ignited in the experience of the Risen Lord. We must be instruments for such encounters.

This is not a job exclusive to those in consecrated life. All Christians are called to awaken the world. See how beautifully the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council describe it: 

They live in the ordinary circumstances of family and social life, from which the very web of their existence is woven. They are called there by God that by exercising their proper function and led by the spirit of the Gospel they may work for the sanctification of the world from within as a leaven. In this way they may make Christ known to others, especially by the testimony of a life resplendent in faith, hope and charity. Therefore, since they are tightly bound up in all types of temporal affairs it is their special task to order and to throw light upon these affairs in such a way that they may come into being and then continually increase according to Christ to the praise of the Creator and the Redeemer.              — Lumen Gentium, 31 

Today, who do you need to bring to Jesus Christ? Who do you need to encourage to follow their call to the consecrated life? Upon whom do you need to “throw light” and show Jesus Christ?

Follow the Apostles and the great example of our Peter. His faithful and confident proclamation of Jesus Christ serves to inspire us to an active life of waking the world. Live your life as someone who has experienced the Risen Lord. Inspire young people in their endeavors to seek their calling in life. Encourage a young man or woman to attend the Vocation Awareness Program (June 27-29, 2015) to learn more about a life dedicated to serving God’s people. Lead someone to Jesus Christ and together let’s Wake Up the World!

In these joyous days of Easter, we find ourselves plunging deep into the lives of the Apostles after the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, as they embark upon their ministerial duties. It seems now, in the time of the resurrected Christ, Peter has come into his own, with a courageous and bold manner of preaching the Gospel message. Peter’s fervent trust in the Lord is infectious for the other Apostles and efficacious for those to whom he ministers. 

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