The good Shepherd and promoting vocations

4th Sunday of Easter, cycle A

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday; incidentally, this day is also World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
In this day we recall Jesus’ concern for the flock of Israel, for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and implored others to pray to the Father for laborers to the harvest.

The seedbed of vocations is the family where a child is reared to love and care.  It is also in the parish community where this bond of love is further strengthened and molded to perfection.  Thus, on this very day, the Holy Father called on the bishops and local Church to strengthen their campaign and promote vocations.  The Holy Father called on the dioceses to review the pastoral programs geared at awakening the young to the gift of vocations.  He challenged all associations, movements, ministries and ecclesial communities to answer a basic question: Are parish activities geared to fostering vocations among young people?

The Holy Father aligns the formation of vocations to the way Jesus formed his disciples.  The first movement is the be friends with Jesus who is most intimate with the Father.  Know Jesus in the scriptures and develop that affinity with Him.

The second is the witness of the Church and in the course of its witnessing, to form the commitment among young people to “go and make disciples of all nations.  In the 2nd wave it is important to everyone to feel the warmth of being Church.

The third wave is the ability to say yes to meaning of one’s life caused by offering oneself, “If a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies …”  This third waves involves saying yes to “leave everything behind and follow Jesus.

Finally, the Holy Father called on the priests to be living witnesses of this communion by their communion with the bishop, with fellow priests, and with the people of God.  In this way, the entire Church rejoices at the life being produced among the young - the gift of vocations.