We began the Month of November with celebration of All Saints Day. They are the example for us to grow in holiness. We strive to grow in holiness, but in different ways: as a priest, religious, married couple and family, singles, and so on. This week we are celebrating National Vocation Awareness week. Vocation in general is openness to God’s call. How do we foster this call? One of the brochures for Vocation Awareness Week talks about seven ways a family can foster vocation: 1) snuggle up and read fascinating age appropriate saints story at bed time; 2) watch a better movie as family (e.g. life of St. John Bosco); 3) Set the record straight, means tell children about real happiness, instead TV tells them what is happiness; 4) Play dress up, let children imagine being a priest or nun and play it out, 5) pray from the heart, have family prayer time and during the family prayer pray for the families, priests and nuns too; 6) Talk about vocations openly; marriage, priesthood and religious life; 7) Befriend priest and religious, invite a priest or a nun at your home.
People often ask me how did I decide to become a priest? I tell them the short answer is because God called me. Then I explain to them how I found out God’s calling: It was through my family, pastor, nuns, youth group and so on. I can say that the youth program called “Cherupushpa Mission League” which made a remarkable influence in making my decision. I was very much involved in this youth ministry. I was a participant at the beginning and in my high school years, I was in the leadership team under the guidance of pastor and nuns. The experience with youth ministry encouraged me in my decision making to become a priest.
These are the little steps to teach our children about vocation: prayer at home, going for Mass as family, teach them be a server, reader, or greeter and so on. Everybody is not going to be a priest or nun. It is their choice, but it our duty to teach them about different vocations and have an opportunity to talk about it and to get to know. When it comes to faith, normally some of the parents tempted to say it is their child’s choice. They cannot choose something they do not know. However, they are exposed to everything else automatically, they should be exposed to faith and its traditions and roots too. Then they can make the right choice. Let us pray for vocations. We all are called to holiness in different paths.
Month of November is dedicated to praying for our loved ones and it is the end of the liturgical year. So, the theme of the reading is tuned to end time and eternal life. The First reading and the Gospel talks about resurrection. In the first reading is the martyrdom of seven brothers with their mother. The willingness to sanctify one’s life rather than transgress. Commandments is a frequent theme in the book of Maccabees. Despite the persecution, the entire family rema ined faithful and offered the supreme sacrifice of their love and fidelity. At the time of death, one told the executioner, “You are depriving us of this present life, but the King of the world will raise us up to live again forever.” We see an amazing witness to their faith.
In the Gospel we see the story of seven brothers married to one woman and, therefore, “Now at the resurrection whose wife will that woman be?” Jesus’ time there were two prominent groups, such as Sadducees and Pharisees. Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection. The Sadducees’ question was based on the law of levirate marriage recorded in Dt 25:5–10, to ridicule the idea of the resurrection.
Jesus deals with them on their own terms: first by denying that marriage exists in the next life and second, by deliberately citing Mosaic Law against them. The burning bush episode shows that God identified himself with patriarchs: Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob long after their death Exodus 3:6). It shows that they must still be living beyond their earthly death. Jesus said, God “is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."