by Bill Scholl
I sometimes wonder whatever happened to that rich young man we hear about in the Gospel of Matthew (19: 16-22).
He’s the one who asks our Lord: “What good must I do to gain eternal life?” First, our Lord tells him to follow the commandments . . . and the young man boasts about his compliance.
Then Jesus makes a surprising offer: “Go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” We never find out what happens — only that: “He went away sad, for he had many possessions.”
What an incredible missed opportunity. Every calling of the Holy Spirit is like Jesus coming to town: There is an urgency to listen carefully and be ready to say “yes,” because you don’t know when or if he’ll be back again.
This urgency to say “yes” is particularly important when it comes to vocations. If I had not been searching out God’s calling in my life during my 20s, I would not have allowed God to bless me with my wife and six children. While my opportunity for salvation would not have been closed off, my personal opportunity to serve God in that way would have been limited. We are all created to serve God in specific ways and when we decline these callings, some good that God intended goes undone.
Soon in our archdiocese, God will be calling a number of men to search out a vocation to serve as permanent deacons. This October the office of the permanent diaconate will be hosting several information nights for men interested in learning about the diaconate program. This is a door that does not open very frequently, due to the amount of training and formation required of permanent deacons. We last saw this door open six years ago.
The ministry of the deacon is to give witness to the world as Christ the servant. Consequently, the deacon leads the people in the practice of charity and justice. Certainly in times such as these, when the rift between the culture and the Gospel is ever growing, the church needs leaders ordained to proclaim the social doctrine of the church through acts of charity and thoughtful engagement with the world.
If you know a man between the ages of 30 and 62 who is a devout Catholic and has a heart for serving the poor, encourage him by saying, “I think you’d make a good deacon.”
If you yourself are such a man and you feel a tugging from the Holy Spirit to come and see, go to the website at: www.archkck.org/deacons to find out more.
Be ever ready to say “yes” to Christ, and you will never go away sad.