4th Sunday in Easter (A)
April 29, 2020
Vocations begin at home
April 29, 2020

Discovering God’s call in our lives

By Leela Ramdeen, Chair, CCSJ & Director, CREDI

“Every vocation is born of that gaze of love with which the Lord came to meet us…Vocation, more than our own choice, is a response to the Lord’s unmerited call. We will succeed in discovering and embracing our vocation once we open our hearts in gratitude and perceive the passage of God in our lives” (Pope Francis)

Today, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, our Church celebrates Good Shepherd Sunday and the 57th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Let us celebrate fidelity to priestly and religious vocations. We thank God for their ‘Yes’.

You will recall what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4, when he explained how the Church should consider him and the other apostles: “People must think of us as Christ’s servants, entrusted with the mysteries of God. What is expected of stewards is that each one should be found worthy of his trust.”

As Auxiliary Bishop John Sherrington of the Diocese of Westminster said: “Stewarding the mysteries of God means preaching the word of God, celebrating the sacraments and being Christ’s sacramental presence in the world. Through his prayer, the priest offers the people and the intractable situations of life to God the loving Father, knowing that only His Spirit can bring true healing and peace. In this way the priest deepens his own relationship with Christ, his shepherd and friend, so that he may be more available to Him and to his flock. May the priest always pray, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”  (1 Sam 3:9).

Read Pope Francis’ Message to mark this day. It is entitled: ‘Words of Vocation’. Vatican News states that the Pope recalls “a letter he wrote last year in which he chose four key words–pain, gratitude, encouragement, and praise–as a way of ‘thanking priests and supporting their ministry’.  Today, he says, those same words can ‘be addressed to the whole people of God’, alongside a passage from Matthew’s Gospel that recounts the ‘remarkable experience of Jesus and Peter during a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee’ (cf Mt 14:22–33)…The image of the disciples crossing the lake can evoke our own life’s journey…

The Lord points out our destination on the opposite shore and he grants us the courage to board the boat.  In calling us, he becomes our helmsman; he accompanies and guides us; he prevents us from running aground on the shoals of indecision and even enables us to walk on surging waters”.

Compare Pope Francis’ message on vocations with his meditation on today’s gospel, John 10:1–10. Yes, the Lord is calling us; but, like the analogy of the sheep, we will be in real trouble if we fail to recognise  His voice; if we do not accept that He is the “gate of the sheepfold” and that “all others who have come are thieves and brigands”.

As Pope Francis says: “Christian life is so simple! Jesus is the door. He leads us along the way, and we recognise his voice in the Beatitudes, in the works of mercy and when he teaches us to say ‘Father’.”

Each of us has a vocation to be all that we can be and to use our particular charisms to contribute to the sanctification of the world. We must strive to do so joyfully.

While there is a universal call to all God’s children to be holy, each of us has a specific vocation. We must discern what our specific vocation is and do as Paul urges in Ephesians 4:1–3: “live in a manner worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together…”

St Josemaría Escrivá (founder of Opus Dei), said: “we fulfil our vocation to be holy by sanctifying our work, sanctifying ourselves in our work, and sanctifying others through our work.”

If we are to be people of the Beatitudes, let us listen to our shepherd, Archbishop Jason Gordon, who has asked us to give generously to those in need during these challenging times of COVID-19. As the Formation Booklet produced for the AEC Mission Congress states: “…in our changing societies, we will need new ways of being Church.”

Let us build God’s Kingdom on Earth by deepening our personal encounter with Christ and responding generously to His Grace’s “call to action” to promote integral human development and the common good, to stand in solidarity with those in need.

God destined the earth and all it contains for all people and nations so that all created things would be shared fairly by all humankind under the guidance of justice tempered by charity. (69)

Pope Paul VI, Gaudium et Spes

 (The Church in the Modern World)

CCSJ Social Justice Education Committee