Newsletter 12th May 2019

GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY

Today’s gospel invites us to think about the role each one of us is called to in the church. The first thing we need to say on this day is that every single person here has a vocation, every single person here has been and is being called by God through the Holy Spirit to offer their special gifts to the rest of the community. What is your vocation? What is your special gift? What contribution are you making to the life of this parish – both inside the Church and outside it?

We are constantly being asked to pray in a special way for particular types of vocations which are very necessary for the life of the Church. We need pastoral shepherds for our parish communities and we do not have enough. We need the special witness that priests give through lives of celibacy and obedience.

What we are praying for is not so much more vocations, because the Holy Spirit is surely calling those who are needed for the service of the Church. Rather we are praying that those who are being called will answer the call.

At the same time, while we pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life and give generously to the collection for the seminary, there is a real danger that we are praying for other people’s vocations, for other parents generously to allow their children to enter the seminary of the convent.

No, Vocation Sunday is for all of us here. On the one hand, each one needs to reflect on what my particular calling is and how I can respond to it for the wellbeing of the whole parish community. Secondly, I need to help and not be an obstacle to others in responding to the particular calling or grace that God through his Spirit is giving them.

We sometimes talk about a “vocation crisis”. There is no vocation crisis in the sense that everyone has a vocation. There is no vocation crisis in that far more lay people are now being formed for pastoral service in the Church than was the case in even the relatively recent past. There is a crisis in that too many are not aware of their vocation or, if they are, they are not responding to it. Let us pray today that every one of us here will be sensitive to the guidance of the Spirit in our lives and that we may respond generously to the calls which he is making on us.  If we all actively responded to that call what a wonderful community we would be!

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