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To answer the call

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. It’s a time when the Church reflects on the vocation of the priesthood, and more.

The Gospel reading from John 10 provides a rich theological foundation for understanding the priestly vocation, as it presents Jesus Christ Himself as the “good shepherd” who lays down His life for His sheep.

The priest, in being conformed to Christ the High Priest, is likewise called to offer his life as a living sacrifice for the sake of the flock entrusted to his care. This self-gift, rooted in Christ’s own self-gift on Calvary, is the hallmark of the priestly vocation.

But the vocation of the priest goes beyond mere self-sacrifice. At the heart of the priestly calling is an intimate, personal relationship with Christ, nourished through prayer and the sacraments. It is this relationship that empowers the priest to faithfully preach the Gospel and shepherd the people of God.

Yet the priest is not called to serve alone. The priest, as a co-worker with Christ, is called to bring the good news of salvation to all, breaking down the barriers that divide humanity and uniting all people under the one shepherd, Jesus Christ.

This universal dimension of the priestly vocation is particularly relevant in our modern world, where the forces of secularism and relativism seek to marginalise the Church’s prophetic voice.

The vocation of the priest is a call to imitate the good shepherd in the most profound way possible. It is a call to lay down one’s life in service of the flock, to nurture an intimate relationship with the Good Shepherd, and to faithfully guide all people to the eternal pastures of God’s kingdom.

Likewise, we as disciples of Christ, have a part to play. We too must answer the call to do our part in making this world a better place.

How do we do this when almost at every turn we are faced with bad news? Many of us were shocked at the tragic murder of four-year-old Amarah Lalitte. And daily, we read or hear of another murder/s in a crime hotspot, which frankly, could be anywhere nowadays. There is a tangible impatience on the streets,  anxiety mixed with anger that is worrying.

Evil exists, and while we believe in the risen Christ, we simultaneously live in fear. Fear can be crippling and suffocating. We may feel powerless, to simply throw our hands in the air and give up. But we cannot. We have to continue pressing those in authority to do their best and by our own example, be the light in the world.

The government, comprising the ruling party and the Opposition, were challenged to meet on the crime situation. That meeting never came about.

But the answer does not lie totally in the authorities but in the hearts and minds of right-thinking people.

A few days ago a song titled ‘The Call’ went viral. The five local artistes, respected ‘elders’ in the local music scene, on the infectious track captured the mood of our people and likely everyday conversations expressing bewilderment at the wild, wild west Trinidad has turned into.

The video is framed with aerial shots of the National Marian Shrine in Laventille. It also ended with a question ‘Who else will answer the call?’

It is a question each one of us must answer.