Hosea 8: 4-7, 11-13
Matthew 9: 32-38
Prior to my ordination, Mark Cooper and I was sent to live in our Oxley community to gain pastoral experience in Parish Missions and retreats. We both took on the roles of joint chaplains to St. Columban’s College in Albion. Through that work, we got to know a number of the senior year boys who showed an interest in a vocation and so invited them to come to our monastery for a meal. During our conversation around the barbeque, one of the boys named Ben made the comment, “If my parents knew I was here, they’d have a fit!” I asked him why, and he replied, “They have me earmarked to be a lawyer or a doctor. If they knew I was contemplating becoming a priest, they would just have a fit.” The others concurred.
This was in 1991, before the full force of the sex abuse scandal had hit with all its force. How much harder is it now for young people to contemplate taking the radical step of becoming a priest or religious. Have we sown the wind and have thus reaped the whirlwind?
The fact remains that the people of our world continue to be harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Lord of the harvest, send labourers to your harvest, even if that includes me.
Fr. Ray Sanchez CP is the leader of the Oxley community and responsible for Parish Missions and Retreats throughout Australia and NZ.