THE CHURCH, MOTHER OF VOCATIONS
HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YR B
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 picture of Jesus Christ is a radical shift from expectation of the people He came to meet. For while they were looking for a political Messiah, Jesus came as a Shepherd Messiah, who came to die for his flock. Therefore, 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 decided to maintain the theme for this year’s celebration ” THE CHURCH, MOTHER OF VOCATIONS ” as our theme for this sunday. And according to Pope Francis, it is a reminder that vocations are born in the church , grow in the church and are sustained by the church. Beloved 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, 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. Again, let this celebration remind us that the church is the house of mercy and it is the soil where vocations take root, mature and bear fruit. In this regard,we all have a responsibility to promote and encourage vocations by what we do and say.
This has been Fr. Dolphyne’s presentation for www. padredolphyne.wordpress.com as we celebrate the fourth sunday of easter year b.
May God richly bless you as you share this homily with your friends.