The fourth Sunday of Easter (29 April 2007) each year is given over to the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. To lead us into prayer and reflection, we are invited to look closely at and meditate on Christ the Good Shepherd.
The image of Christ as shepherd is appropriate as we imagine Christ as our leader, but also the one who cares and calls. It is a comforting image, but one that is equally challenging.The challenge is to all followers of Christ to follow Him in whatever state of life we find ourselves - whether it is as married, single or religious people.
The very nature of our baptism into the Lord demands it. I am convinced that to live out this call of baptism we have to constantly question our own response to that call. Even more importantly is the call of each one to be leading others to Christ. This is a demanding but essential aspect of our individual vocation.
I am reminded this Vocations Sunday of a story from Timothy Radcliffe OP, former Master General of the Dominican Order when addressing a group of vocations directors in Ireland a couple of years ago. He suggested that in order for any vocation to take root or indeed to flourish one must have two things - passion, and secondly passion! By this he meant that one must have passion in one's life for something - whether it is music, or drama, or reading or sport. But secondly, and more importantly that one must have passion for Jesus Christ and his Gospel. I agree with him and am praying earnestly this weekend for those who have that same passion.And finally, pray for us vocations directors on this day - and our work!
Take a look at www.vocationsireland.com and www.priest.ie if you have a little time!