HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YR B
1 John 3:1-2
Beloved in Christ, the fourth sunday of easter is called” GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY”. It is a day set aside to reflect on Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep: he calls them, he feeds them and he guides them. This sunday also since 1964 has been celebrated as the day on which prayers are offered for vocations. Hence today we celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocation, a celebration that was instituted by Pope Paul VI.
Therefore, I have chosen ” VOCATION: A CALL TO COMMITMENT” as our theme for this sunday. This theme is to help us appreciate that though we are praying today for vocations to the Priesthood and Religious life, it is equally important for us not to lose sight of our primary and individual calling as Christians.
Beloved, vocation is a calling. It identifies our gifts, talents and passion summoning us to use them for the greater good of others. In doing so, we find our own lives fulfilled. Therefore I urge you to see your work as your vocation and approach it with commitment and sincerity. Also for young people this day is an invitation to be open to God’s Spirit which calls them to the fullness of life In whatever vocation they are summoned to.
Beloved in Christ, this year is the 52nd celebration of the World Day of Prayer for Vocation and Pope Francis in his message titled “EXODUS, A FUNDAMENTAL EXPERIENCE OF VOCATION” explains that at the root of every Christian vocation there is an exodus that starts from the renouncement of comfort and the inflexibility of the self in order to go forth trustfully, like Abraham towards the ‘new land’ that God indicates to us. The Holy Father therefore sees vocation not as a flight from the world but a specific, real and total commitment. He further asked young people not to be afraid of what God asks of them. For it is worth saying ‘yes’ to God.
Beloved in Christ, the word “good” in the phrase “Good Shepherd” has more than one meaning and the Greek language in which St. John tells us that story has two words for good. One is ‘ agathos’ which means ‘morally good’. The second, that is the word John used here is ‘ kalos’ which adds to the idea of moral goodness a physical beauty. Hence, Jesus as the Good Shepherd contains the notion of one who is both noble and lovely. Also, the contrast between the good and the bad Shepherds dates back to the days of the prophet Ezekiel (cf.Ez 34:1-6) . The good shepherd is one who loves and cares for his sheep.
My dear friend, as we celebrate World Day of Prayer for Vocation, let us also pray for the grace to be open to God’s will for our lives.
This has been Fr. Dolphyne’s presentation for the fourth sunday of easter year b.
May God richly bless you as you share this homily with your friends.