Fourth Sunday of Easter
(Good Shepherd Sunday)
Readings: Acts 13:14,43-52, Revelation 7:9,14-17, John 10:27-30
I have made you a light for the nations
The fourth Sunday of Easter has been traditionally celebrated as the Good Shepherd Sunday and is set apart to pray for vocations. The Gospel speaks of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, who takes care of his sheep and leads them to the Father. The first reading today speaks of the experience of Paul and Barnabas and how they move on to bring the Good News to the gentiles when the chosen people refuse to follow! The Good Shepherd leads us to the Father, but it is our responsibility to follow, if we choose not to follow, then we move away from the Good Shepherd.
Praying for vocations is an important part of Catholic life. Whenever we pray for vocations, our focus is towards the vocation for priestly and religious vocations. It is good to pray for such vocations as there is an overwhelming need for the witness through ordained and religious ministry. Holy Spirit always inspires people to follow this path and our prayer is for people to respond to this inspiration in their life. And quite often we stop at that and forget that vocation is not just limited to priestly and religious life! To be honest, each one of us is inspired in various ways to various vocations in our life and that is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As we read in the first reading today, Jesus has invited us to be the light for the nations, so we are called to light this light everywhere and through various means. What I mean to say is, the vocation is not just limited to priestly and religious life, which is important, but also to be a parent, a teacher, a plumber, a doctor, a farmer, an artist, a stonemason, an electrician, a homemaker, a grandparent, a policeperson, a postie, etc., etc. And each one of these vocations builds up the community and contributes to the wellbeing of all. The challenge is, how honestly am I living my vocation? How deeply am I responding to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? How clearly am I answering the call of the Shepherd?
Today we also celebrate the Mother’s Day. Being a mother is a unique vocation. Mother and mother figures in our life help us to become who we are. They play a major role in our upbringing along with our father and father figures and nourish our own individual vocations. So, let us especially pray for our mother and mother figures in our life, who has helped us to choose our vocations. May they be blessed on this day and everyday to continue to cherish their motherhood and pray for those mothers who are struggling in various ways that they may be supported by the community members through the help of God.
May this Good Shepherd Sunday help us to appreciate our own vocation. May we become the light for the nations through our unique contribution to the wellbeing of the community. May we continue to be inspired by the Holy Spirit and may we unceasingly respond to this calling. And above all may we be happy in our own calling/vocation so that we may inspire others to choose their own unique vocation in life.