WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS
THEME: CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD
(Acts 2. 14a, 36b-41; 1 Peter 2: 20b-25; John 10:14)
The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as the Good Shepherd Sunday. On this Sunday, special prayers are offered for vocations, especially vocation to the priesthood and vocation to the religious life. Today, we fulfil the request of Christ to: “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2).
Dear sisters and brothers, today the Church with exultation reminds us that Jesus Christ remains the true shepherd of our lives. The natural relationship between the sheep and their shepherd is based on familiarity, trust and obedience. The true sheep recognize the looks, voice and commands of their true shepherd; hence, they will not follow a stranger.
The functions of a Shepherd include: leading, protecting and providing for the sheep. When the leaders of Israel failed in their duty, God promised to look after his sheep himself. And so, in Jesus Christ, ‘God-made-man’, this promise is fulfilled. A GOOD SHEPHERD! The mission of the Good Shepherd is both a consolation and a challenge to us.
We are consoled by the fact that we have a wise, strong and benevolent leader. The Good Shepherd feeds the sheep. He does not feed on the sheep. We are consoled by the fact that we have a leader that truly cares and has what it takes to show it. Jesus is the messianic Shepherd of the popular Psalm 23.
We are challenged by the example of Jesus to provide quality and selfless leadership wherever we are chosen to lead. The example of Jesus is that of sacrifice and benevolence. It has become for us, a pattern of leadership. Let leaders, especially Christian leaders be more concerned about the good of the people. We are challenge to a life of selfless service in the church, in your homes, in your places of work, in your offices, and in the world around us.
PRAYER FOR VOCATION
Lord Jesus, as you once called the first disciples to make them fishers of men, let your sweet invitation continue to resound; come, follow me!
Give young men and women the grace of responding quickly to your voice. Support your bishops, priests and consecrated people in their apostolic labour.
Grant perseverance to our seminarians and to all those who are carrying out the ideal of a life totally consecrated to your service.
Awaken in our community a missionary eagerness. Lord, send workers to your harvest and do not allow humanity to be lost for the lack of pastors, missionaries and people dedicated to the cause of the Gospel.
Mary, Mother of the Church, the Model of every vocation, help us to say “Yes” to the Lord who calls us to cooperate in the divine plan of salvation. Amen
-Pope Saint John Paul II