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Categorized | From the Pulpit

They might be with him

Father Lam T. Le, Pastor

St. John Paul II Parish

3110 17 Mile Rd | Cedar Springs, Michigan | 616 696 3904

Mark 3:14: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach.” (NIV)

Lately, parishioners and friends have asked me: how long does it take for the Church to form a man to be a Catholic priest? My answer is: for those who have just graduated from High School, it is approximately 8 years; for those who begin their formation when they have already completed their undergraduate studies, then it will be approximately 6 years; and if you are slow like me, it took 9 years (indeed it took me 9 years due to special studies I was asked to do!). The next question is: why is there a need for formation and why is it such a significant time? My short answer is: the Church follows the example of Jesus.

In Mark 3:14, Jesus literally made or instituted the twelve as apostles; but before he sent them, they are to “be with him.”  To “be with the Lord” means to be formed by Jesus.  When they are formed, Jesus “began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits” (Mark 6:7).  The time to “be with him” is so important. In this way, Jesus would lead them to experience the Father’s love.  To “be with him” equipped them to share in his messianic mission.

What happened to the apostles can be applied to all of us. God has a plan for each of us in his vineyard. But before we are to be sent out into the field, we must be formed by him, or we need to “be with him.”  The candidates for the priesthood spend a period to “be with him” to receive human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. Couples who are to enter the covenant of marriage need to “be with him” to understand what God has instilled in them for their marriage life. In short, every vocation needs formation, for without knowing the Lord, we cannot share the Lord with others.

In the midst of summer, it is the time to “be with him” and to be equipped as workers in his vineyard. 

Father Lam also is the Pastor of Mary Queen of Apostles Parish, 1 West Maple St, Sand Lake, Michigan 49343 phone: 616 636 5671.

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