A motorist was run down by a train at a grade crossing on a fateful night. The old signal man in charge of the crossing had to appear in court.
After a severe cross-examination, he was still unshaken. He said he had waved his lantern frantically, but all to no avail. The following day the superintendent of the line called him into his office.
"You did wonderfully well yesterday, Tom," he said. "I was afraid at first that you might waver."
"No, sir," replied Tom, "but I was afraid that old lawyer was going to ask me whether or not my lantern was lit!”
At Baptism, we were entrusted with the light of Christ and challenged to keep the flame alight in our hearts. The Christian challenge is to become part of the transformation of the world that Jesus effected. How do we become part of this project?
First, we have to encounter the Lord in our lives. What makes this difficult is that it involves waiting. The Lord comes to us in different ways in our lives but we are often blind to his presence because we are preoccupied with every other thing apart from him. We need to create moments of encounter in our lives: like times of prayers, like times when we chose to slow down the pace of our lives to become more sensitive to the events in our lives. The Lord reveals himself to us where we are most present. Unfortunately, we are hardly awake.
Another quality we need to transform the world is dedication. This simply requires that we follow him; become his disciples. The rest is secondary. If we follow him, we can follow him as priests, as lay ministers, as single persons, or as married persons. What really counts is that he occupies a central position in our lives. Following Jesus regardless of our state of life is what vocation, the call to holiness, is all about.
Finally, we can transform our world by embracing suffering. No follower of Jesus is immune from the cross because that is the way he leads. Suffering is integral to the fabric of our existence. There is so much contradiction when it comes to this phenomenon. We all hate it and yet it is commonplace. Consequently, there is a value in suffering that we cannot comprehend fully. Yet those who accept suffering are able to express the faith in such a substantial way that surpasses the most eloquent speech.
The Christian vocation is an invitation to transform the world through waiting, dedication and suffering. Rick Warren once remarked that: “Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It's a journey of discovery - there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair.”
The journey becomes less complicated if we undergo a change of heart, a conversion. It is conversion that lights our baptismal candles afresh.