“Respond to the Holy Spirit who is calling you! Come! Come! Come! Don’t wait for time because time isn’t waiting for you.” St Catherine of Siena, Letters to Pope Gregory XI
Today the Church celebrates the feast day of one of the few women Doctors of the Church, Catherine of Siena. Her influence on the Church at the time of the Great Schism was Divine intervention only because she listened to God with deep love and was open to the Holy Spirit.
In the first reading the Apostles are choosing the first seven deacons to help with the work of the Church while they take time to pray and preach the Word of God. By this time in the early Church the Apostles were finding that they were ministering to the needs of the poor, women and children. They were distributing food and clothing to the needy and visiting the sick. Most likely they were wearing themselves out doing everything. The deacons will take over the ministry to the poor and various needs of the Church while the Apostles could focus on preaching and teaching all that Christ taught them. Today we have the Permanent Diaconate to assist with taking communion to the home bound and those in hospitals. They may also have responsibilities within a parish to work in the parish food pantry or other outreach programs. Lay people are also called to minister within the Church. There are many ways in which lay men and women share their gifts with their parish or diocese. Lay people are in music ministry, taking communion to the home bound and nursing homes, lectors at mass, teachers in the RCIA programs and many more areas.
Which ministry are you being called to serve in?
“Come! Come! Come! Don’t wait for time because time isn’t waiting for you.”
In the Gospel the Apostles are out in one of their fishing boats at night and a “strong wind” is making rough seas. Not surprising that this is not the only time in the Scriptures that there are rough seas. This could very easily be an analogy of the rough time they will have in the future. Jesus appears to them and reassures them not to be afraid. As they are focused on Jesus the boat lands on the shore. In other similar scripture passages when the Apostles focus on Jesus things turn out for the better when they turn their focus somewhere else they sink or panic. Saint Catherine of Siena helped Pope Gregory to keep his focus on Jesus through her letters. When we keep our focus on Jesus even the storms of life can be calmed and the next thing we know we have landed on the shore safe and sound.
“It is I. Do not be afraid.”
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky