A Good Word by Fr. Greg Jakubowicz, OFM 4.30.2023
Our readings at Mass on this Fourth Sunday of Easter draw our focus on to Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. And our Catholic Church has also identified today as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Both are connected in that we are challenged to listen to the voice of God that calls us to respond to God’s voice in our prayers and actions out of love.
Today’s Gospel from John points out how a good shepherd cares for his flock of sheep. The good shepherd’s sheep know the voice of their shepherd and they follow that voice. Jesus identifying Himself as the Good Shepherd makes sense since He lovingly cares and sacrifices for us, like a good shepherd.
As Pope Francis reminds us, you and I are called to listen to Jesus Christ’s Word – our Good Shepherd’s voice - with minds and hearts open, to nourish our faith, enlighten our conscience, and to follow the teaching of Jesus’ Gospel.
Following the voice of the Good Shepherd in faith calls you and me to love and build up others, as the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, continues to do for us.
On this Good Shepherd Sunday, as we contemplate what it means for each of us to follow the Good Shepherd, there are a few questions we need to ask ourselves:
What voices do you and I follow? And why do we follow these voices and not others?
Do you and I listen to and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd calling us to do something good with the gift of our lives? To help others? To work for building up the common good? To seek justice? To make sure all people, especially the lost and those who live on the margins, know that they are loved, valued, and wanted?
What is your vocation, that is, how are you being called to serve God? Is your vocation, your call, to love and build up others? Do you listen to and act upon that voice calling you to serve?
These are the questions you and I need to ponder and answer to make sure that we remain an Easter people - disciples of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd whose voice we know and follow.
If the voice of the Good Shepherd is inviting you to serve God in a different way as a religious sister or brother, or as an ordained priest – please listen to that voice and trust in God’s love for you. God will never abandon you nor lead you astray. And if you’re not sure if God is calling you to a vocation to serve the Church, know that we are always here and willing to help you listen and discern the voice of the Good Shepherd in our lives. Let us all join with the Universal Church as we pray for vocations to serve in our Church.
As always, if there is anything we can do for you at UB Catholic campus ministry, please let me know. We are here for you.
May God bless you with Peace and All Good.