Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Everyone has a vocation

Good Shepherd Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Easter Year A)
Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday or Vocation Sunday. Today is a special day when we pray for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

What is a vocation? Does everyone have a vocation? Do you have a vocation? Many people think that only a handful of privileged people have a vocation while others do not. This is not true. Everyone has a vocation. A vocation is a calling forth of a person. It starts at the very moment of our existence in our mother’s womb. We can even say that our vocation began before the universe was created. Each of us are called to develop our fullest potential because we are born incomplete.

But vocation is also a struggle. It demands sacrifice. A Vocation is a labour of love. It is a working out of a mission. And our mission is love. Each of us is called to be loving persons. Love is at the core of our vocation. God calls us because he loves us. We came into this world through the love of our parents. This vocation must now be nurtured by love and hopefully one day we will bear the fruits of love. Some are called to express that love in marriage. Others are called to express that love through the priesthood or religious life. Some are called to express that love while remaining single.

Thus, a vocation is not something that merely makes us feel good, nor is it necessarily easy. Neither is life or love. For in both life and in love, vocation becomes real only through struggle, purification and pain.

Married people, single persons, priests and religious all have vocations. Each vocation is unique and irreplaceable, all revealing the voice of God’s love. But priestly and religious vocations are profoundly different than those who are single or married. They are different but it doesn’t mean that they are higher vocations. The only highest vocation is love itself. What then is the difference? The life of a priest or a religious brother or sister should make no sense without Christ. Such a life, in its core, is meaningless without faith. As priests and as religious brothers and sisters, we are called to be “nobodies”. We are called to give up all titles, power, wealth, position and our personal wishes and wants so that we can become living sacraments of God’s presence in this world. We live no longer for ourselves but for God. It is true that we priests and religious are also sinners and broken people. That is why we need your prayers. Can you imagine one day when there is no longer any priest or religious brother or sister? Can you imagine one day when there will no longer be any sacraments? No mass, no baptism, no confirmation, no confessions.

Let us in today’s mass pray to Jesus, our Good Shepherd to send more workers into the vineyard, for the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Let us pray for more vocations to the priestly and religious life. Let us encourage our children and the young people to take up the challenge of responding to God’s call.

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