At our Cathedral in Reno Nevada, we have two key words this third Sunday of Advent. The first is vocation, the second profession. “Vocation” comes from vocationem, literally “a calling,” from vocatus “called,” from vocare “to call.”
Profession means, “Vows taken upon entering a religious order,” from the Latin professionem, “a public declaration.” It also means “the occupation one professes to be skilled in.”
Our Catechism, section 871 tells us, “The Christian faithful incorporated in Christ through Baptism, constitute the people of God. Sharers in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal office are called to exercise the mission God entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each one.”
Section 873 states, “The laity share in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly office of Christ; they have, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment of the whole People of God.”
In the story, a “Christmas Carol,” Scrooge tells Marley, “You were always a good man of business, Jacob.” This is after Marley tells Scrooge, “No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused! Yet such was I! Oh! Such was I!”
We profess our belief in Jesus Christ with our actions, whether we like it or not, or know it or not. We cannot separate our Catholic profession from the secular world.
Marley presents our assignment from Section 873 well, “”Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”
Marley quotes the Christian position and the position of Scrooge head on, that business in Reno, Nevada, and the United States, is a cold, heartless enterprise where Christian love does not apply. He says of it, “Bah humbug.”
We read our Gospel, in our Reno Nevada Cathedral. The Pharisees ask John the Baptist if he is the prophet. He says not, at least no more than anyone else. God entrusted us all with the prophetic office, in our baptism and reinvigorates it in Eucharist, our thanksgiving to God for our salvation. God holds us accountable for how we show our salvation to the world.
St. Luke chapter 4 quotes Jesus referring the first reading to himself. “Christian” means to be Christ like. The same applies to all of us. “The spirit of the Personal Name is upon me. He anointed me, to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the Personal Name and a day of vindication by our God.”
We need to do this as individuals, and as a nation, with the humility of John the Baptist who says, “”I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘make straight the way of Kyrie.'”