This Sunday is a busy Sunday in the Church! This weekend, we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday, we mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, and we also celebrate Mother’s Day. Each of these celebrations is important in its own way.
Our readings this weekend remind us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep. They also remind us that we are the sheep of Christ’s flock. As members of the flock of Christ, we are called to listen for the voice of Jesus the shepherd and follow him to eternal life.
While Jesus is the chief shepherd, we also recognize that we need earthly shepherds to help us to hear the voice of Jesus, the chief shepherd. That is why we also mark today as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The purpose of this day is to publicly fulfill the Lord’s instruction to, “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest” (Mt 9:38; Lk 10:2). On this day, we pray that that young men and women hear and respond generously to the Lord’s call to the priesthood, diaconate, religious life, societies of apostolic life or secular institutes.
As we mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, it’s also important to remember that each one of us has a role to play in helping our young people to discover their vocation. We are called to help them be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to support and encourage those who are discerning a vocation, and to call forth the gifts of others when we recognize them. Many people who have entered a vocation of service in the Church (myself included) have done so because another person took the initiative to ask them if they have ever considered Priesthood or Consecrated Life. If you feel that someone you know might have a vocation, don’t be afraid to say something! Your speaking to them may very well help that person to hear the voice of God calling to them.
It’s also important to remember that most vocations begin in the home. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we give thanks to God for the role that mothers, and mother figures, play in our lives. Pope Francis once said that humanity is “built on mothers” and that their love is a cure for a world, which is so often divided and filled with bitterness. This weekend we ask God’s blessing on all mothers, expectant mothers, those who long to be mothers, and those who serve as motherly figures in other ways, even though they may not have biological children of their own. May Mary, the Mother of God, continue to serve as an example of holiness for all mothers and mother figures in our Church and world.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB