HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR B
1 John 3:1-2
THEME: JESUS CHRIST, OUR GOOD SHEPHERD
Beloved in Christ, today the Church commemorates World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This is an invitation for us to reflect on the meaning of God’s calling and also our obligation to pray for vocations. This Sunday is also called Good Shepherd Sunday; for in each year of the liturgical cycle, the gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Easter is always taken from chapter 10 of John’s gospel – where Jesus refers to himself as the “Good Shepherd.”
This reminds us of the self sacrificing element in his own life. Beloved, Jesus then should be our model of love and care. For He accepted suffering and death in order to save His flock.
My dear friend, unlike the good shepherd, the hired man moves from flock to flock based on conditions of service and would not risk his life for the flock. But the good shepherd is always available and does not look for any personal gain.
Beloved, today the Church also reminds us of our obligation to pray and support vocations. In addition, Pope Francis in his message for this year’s celebration of World Day of Prayer for Vocations tells us that every vocation has three aspects namely: listening, discerning and living. He further charges us not to wait to be perfect before giving our “generous Yes”; not to be fearful of our limitations and sins, but instead open our hearts to the Word of the Lord.
Beloved, the sheep is defenseless and totally dependent on the shepherd and a subject of danger. The sheep then ought to listen to the shepherd, obey him, trust him and follow him. We therefore have a responsibility to care for each other’s welfare.
Let us therefore give a concrete expression to our prayer for vocations by supporting, encouraging and promoting vocations.