In today’s Gospel, we are given the story of how Jesus called Matthew while he was at his post doing his job. This led me to remember my own vocation story.
I worked at a construction firm after graduating from college. Despite enjoying my work and earning money, I somehow felt that I was missing something in my life. I then started to look for something that could give me satisfaction and fulfillment. It became providential that I was able to join a lay charismatic group of young professionals serving the parish along the way. I had also entered a romantic relationship. Everyone thought that I had a well-balanced life. As time passed, I realized I was happier serving in the parish and being involved in the activities of our group than all other things. Yes, I earned money from my work; I had a girlfriend; I was active at church, but at the end of the day, I still felt that something was lacking. My friends suggested that I could try to be a full-time missionary, but further discernment led me to enter the seminary.
I can still remember one of my conversations with my mother. She told me that someone asked her if the reason why I entered the seminary was because I was depressed with my life. I just laughed in response. A lot of people from our place thought it strange that I entered the seminary despite everything. But the path that I chose continues to bring me a certain sense of joy and contentment, similar to what my friends and contemporaries who have started their families and have pursued their careers are experiencing.
We are all called by God. We cannot compare our vocation with others’ because God’s call is a mystery. This call, like with Matthew, requires a response from us to bring us closer to Him – our true joy. I am in my fifth year of initial priestly formation, and I am still experiencing the joy. Joy is not absence of problems and struggles but recognizing God at work amidst all these. I am sure that God has given each of us a unique vocation because He wants us to delight in this joy, like a foretaste of heaven here on earth.
By: Sem. Eric Yabut
As Jesus passed by,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And he got up and followed him.
While he was at table in his house,
many tax collectors and sinners came
and sat with Jesus and his disciples.
The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples,
“Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
He heard this and said,
“Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.
Go and learn the meaning of the words,
I desire mercy, not sacrifice.
I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”