*HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR A*
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
1 Peter 2:20b- 25
*THEME: LED BY THE SPIRIT FOR MISSION*
Beloved in Christ, every year the fourth Sunday of Easter is set aside to recall the relationship between God and His people as described in the image of the Good Shepherd and the sheep. For this reason, this Sunday is called “GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY”
But in recent times, this day has also become known as VOCATIONS SUNDAY; a day for us to publicly fulfill the Lord’s instruction to “pray the Lord to send more labourers into the harvest.”
(c.f. Matt 9: 38, Luke 10:2)
We therefore celebrate on this Sunday the 54th World Day of Prayer for Vocations on the theme “Led by the Spirit for Mission”; with Pope Francis calling on us to focus on the missionary dimension of our Christian calling.
The Pope reminds us that by virtue of our baptism, every Christian is a “Christopher”, a bearer of Christ to his brothers and sisters.(cf Catechesis 30 Jan. 2016). Hence all Christians are called to be missionaries of the gospel.
Pope Francis further affirmed that a relationship with the Lord entails being sent out into the world as prophets of His word and witnesses of His love.
Beloved in Christ, from the scriptures, it is evident that those who were called by God did not always say yes but sometimes hesitated a great deal before finally answering God’s call – Abraham, Moses, Jeremiah, Isaiah. etc; and some even rejected the call (the rich young man)
However, God does not call the ready, He calls the willing. Therefore, you cannot say you are not suitable. Remember, the apostles had their weaknesses but God knew their hearts and their potential and knew what they could become and do for His kingdom.
My dear friends, to answer the call, don’t think about what you are to give up rather focus on what you will gain. Remember, Jesus had to die to himself so as to live his new life – we too must die to ourselves in order to rise to new life.
Also Jesus says in giving up his life for his sheep, he did so of his own will and not just by the force of circumstance. We are thus not to put pressure on people to answer the call of God. Those who are called have the freedom either to say ” yes” or “no”. But we should always remember that it takes faith, generosity and courage to answer God’s call.
Beloved, the second reading also tells us that like Christ our good Shepherd, we must endure ordeals, knowing that He was not selfish even with His life.
Therefore, as we celebrate Vocations Sunday today, do not limit yourself to praying for vocations to the priesthood and religious life only, but ask yourself in what concrete ways am I promoting vocations? Do you encourage your priests or do you ridicule them?
Finally, let us resolve to support those who have answered the call and also pray for those who are being called. For not all of us can become priests or religious or enter the marriage vocation. However, we have a Christian obligation to support and protect each other’s vocation for the glory of God.
This has been a Padre Dolphyne presentation for: