Gospel Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter Year A – May 11th 2014 – Vocations Sunday
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus said: ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’
Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them. So Jesus spoke to them again:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come
are thieves and brigands;
but the sheep took no notice of them
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out
and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come so that they may have life
and have it to the full.’
We talk about the shortage of vocations. We wonder about a time when hundreds joined every year. This brings sup all sorts of questions about the future of the church. Today, Vocations Sunday is not about priesthood only, or religious life. The first big moment of vocation is baptism. The anointing of chrism is the anointing of vocation.
Witness, Love and Service
The baptismal vocation is for Witness, Love and Service. This will be expressed in ways in which people take on their baptism. In married life, single life – within the single life, religious life, priesthood.
Witness – to our faith, the love of God. To the life and the values of Jesus in our lives. Teaching is not itself a vocation for example but the way we teach is a way of living out our vocation.
Love – the ordinary relationships of life. In the special promise of marriage, in family and in friendship. Any love is a sharing in the love of God and a sharing of the love of God. In the moments of unselfish love in any relationship we are living out the vocation. When you love, you are doing God’s will!
Service – the wider world. Love of the poorer world, here and elsewhere. A way of welcoming the stranger. Christian love doesn’t always mean knowing a person. We want to make the lives of all deserving of the name human.
Lord, be with me as I offer myself in partnership with you to work in your world.
Donal Neary SJ