28 Apr 2012

Good Shepherd Sunday (Vocations Sunday) - 29th April 2012 - 4th Sunday of Easter

This Sunday is Vocations Sunday where the Christian community in a special way prays for vocations and particularly for vocations to priesthood and religious life. We have a reflection with Fr Chris O'Donnell from Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre on vocation. We have our regular gospel reflection and saints of the week.

This weeks podcast is available HERE.

Vocation Sunday

The Lord has a plan for each of us; he calls each one of us by name. Our task is to learn how to listen, to perceive his call, to be courageous and faithful in following him and, when all is said and done, to be found trustworthy servants who have used well the gifts given us. - Pope Benedict XVI

Fr Chris O'Donnell gives us a reflection on vocation on this weeks programme.

Vocation comes from "vocare" which comes from the latin to be called. It is a reminder that all of us are called to a vocation, not just to priesthood and religious life. Each of us is called to live out our lives in respond to the love of God. It is a journey, which we wrestle with to unravel and find out what our purpose is. It is a reminder that we are created out of love and created in love. The call ultimately is to love, it is not so much what we do but who we are. It is a response to what is placed within us by God and finally a recognition that we are called to be people of love.

The reminder of vocation reminds us that "Everyone is willed, everyone is loved, each of us is necessary". Finding that vocation which will take struggle and effort will result in a sense of finding what is true to our own selves. Vocation is a struggle, it is not a once off thing, it is a choice to be made every day be it in the vows of marriage or religious life or the way we live our lives. It takes you by surprise and may take you places where perhaps you don't want to go. It stretches us and leads us to odd places.

But any vocation can only be sustained and nourished by prayer, not necessarily our own prayers but the prayers of others for us which reminds us of the need for this Vocation Sunday

Or have a listen to the reflection here.

Various posts from the blog on vocations and Vocations Sunday are available here including Pope Benedict XVI's message for Vocations Sunday 2012.

Gospel - John 10: 11-18

We are presented with John's gospel again this week. It is traditional that the 4th Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday and has become linked with praying for vocations to the religious and priestly life.

The gospel is a very powerful piece of scripture, and our suggestion this week is that when you are reflecting on it for scripture that you take it line by line, in small bite sizes.

The gospel challenges to look to see what we are called to. We are all priests of God, but we are not in the ministerial priesthood. We are all prophets, priest and king by virtue of our baptism and sealing of the Holy Spirit in confirmation.

Every one has a call to a vocation. What is your vocation? What are you called to be in your life? Are you called to be a parent? If you put parent for Good Shepherd in this weeks gospel, does it change the understanding of the gospel for you this week? Does it make it more personal? Does it help to change the focus for you as you reflect on it this week?

"The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep" - This particular phrase is used four times in the passage we hear this week.  How are we called to reach out to our neighbours? Who are the good shepherds that we have met? The line implies that life wont be a bed of roses, answering our vocation can and will be a struggle; be that as a mother looking after a disabled child, a husband watching his wife - his beloved - disappearing in front of him from cancer, a wife who is loosing her husband - her lover - to Alzheimer's. But they are doing it our of love, they are living true to their vocation because ultimately vocation means to love.

"I know my own and my own knows me" -  Each of us can readily identify with the question is God listening to us? Is he with us? Jesus gives us the answer in today's gospel. God knows us better than we know ourselves and he is with us always. To know a person in the biblical sense was to know them intimately, at their deepest core. Jesus reminds us that he knows and loves each and everyone of us. He says to us, "You are not alone, you are not forgotten, I am with you always". It also prompts the question, how well do I know God? How much time do I set aside in my week to get to know God?

"There are other sheep I have that are not of this fold and these I have to lead as well" It is a reminder that we are called to unity in diversity, for "there are many rooms in my Fathers house". We are not all going to be the same, if we all did things the exact same way, how boring it would be. Our vocation is to live out our lives in love and fellowship answering to what God has put into us at our very creation.

"We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him".

Other reflections on this weeks gospel are available from:
Popes Intentions May 2012:
  • General: That initiatives which uphold and defend the role of the family may be promoted in society.
  • Missionary: That Mary, Queen of the World and Star of Evangelisation, may accompany all missionaries in proclaiming her Son Jesus. 
Saints of the Week

Psalter: Week 4
April 30th - St Pius V

May is traditionally the month dedicated to Our Lady. A reminder that Monday night is May Eve if listeners/readers want to maintain the tradition of blessing the fields and gardens with Easter Water to seek the blessing of Lord as we move into Summer.

May 1st - St Joseph the Worker
May 2nd - St Athanasius (Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
May 3rd - Ss Philip and James (Apostles)
May 4th - St Conleth of Kildare
May 5th - Bl Edmund Rice and also herec

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