As we continue to celebrate Easter, today we hear different readings, not about resurrection, but about the purpose of Christ coming. He had a choice of not laying down his life, but he opted to do the will of God. Today’s Sunday is known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday,’ and also known as ‘Vocation Sunday.’ It’s a day dedicated to promote vocations to priesthood and religious life.
I like going back to Baltimore Catechism that said: “We were created by God; to know him, to love him, to serve him and to be with him when we are done with life here on earth.” Becoming a priest or a religious man or woman is not primarily our own decision…. Rather it is the response to a call and to a call of love. (From a talk to seminarians and novices by Pope Francis, July 2013.)
Sometimes in life, it takes a long time to know our true calling, and that’s why we need other people to help us to discover it. In the Hebrew Scripture, we read about the calling of Samuel, who did not recognize that God was calling. He needed someone to guide him. He was in the right place and with the right person, Elia. Here in the parish we are blessed to have the St. John Paul II (JPII) Discernment House, and also the Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese Fr. Luke Strand, as well as Fr. Dennis and myself.
In today’s gospel we hear Jesus saying he is the ‘Good Shepherd.’ He is taking up this divine task initiated by God. He laid down his own life so that we can have life, and have it abundantly. Jesus did not only come to seek the lost children of Israel, but he said; “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” He meant the Gentiles, and we are the Gentiles.
Then the question arises: “How will they hear the voice of Jesus if there is no one to preach to them?” We need to nurture vocations; we need to encourage young men and women to consider priesthood and religious life. We need to continue praying for vocations. Please consider picking up a prayer card for vocations after Mass and make use of it every day.
All of us we are being called to be good shepherd, as parents, children, students, and workers. Let us be our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper by leading the life to which Christ has called us.