Blog & Pastor Letters

The Good Shepherd

05-03-2020Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

I met a woman whose baby was learning to speak. I could hear the babbles of the baby but could not comprehend one word. I asked the mother what the baby was saying, and she explained. I listened a second time and I felt the same. I was far from understanding his mutterings. Each time he muttered something, I looked at the mother to decode for me. This was how I was able to listen to this baby and the mother. I began to wonder what was happening. Then I realized that what was happening was a special connection between mother and child communicating in a language that is divine, heavenly, and exclusive.

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday also known as Vocations Sunday. John 10:27-30 says, "My sheep hear my voice: I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all." Jesus is the Shepherd and we are all the sheep that belong to his fold. In a symbolic manner, Jesus is our leader and we are his followers. There is no way we can follow someone we do not trust or someone without credibility or someone without consistency of his credentials. We know that Jesus qualifies as our leader. John 10:10 says, "I came that they may have life and have it in abundance." For Jesus to be acknowledged as our Shepherd means that he is ready to lay down his life for us. And he did just that; he died on the cross and resurrected to guarantee us eternal life.

But how is the celebration of the Good Shepherd related to Vocations Sunday? The connection is in our attitude and call to service. The Church is sustained in its evangelizing mission through the generous guidance of parents who lead their children to become priests and religious. Long ago I was told that if parents want their child to be a priest or religious, take him to priestly ordinations. If they want their daughter to become a nun, take her to see holy nuns. This might not be the case today, but this makes sense. Vocation to service in the Church grows gradually by prayer, encouragement, and support.

Your family might have the next priest, the next bishop or the next nun who will make the difference like Mother Teresa of Calcutta or the next Mother Angelica, the founder of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

In Acts 13: 14 – 52, Paul and Barnabas became missionaries throughout the Mediterranean area. They went to different cities preaching the gospel of Jesus. The Jews had Jesus crucified and thereafter became hostile to the apostles working among them. So the apostles decided to seek new grounds to sow the seeds of the gospel: "For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth." The uncooperative attitudes of the Jews propelled the apostles to justify their missionary works among other cities, nations and peoples who were eager to hear about the Lord Jesus.

When we preach to others, we offer them eternal life. Revelation 7: 9 – 17 is John's vision of the multitude that assembled from different nations, races, and peoples before the throne of the Lamb. All these people were wearing white robes and holding palm branches. It is incredible to read the revelations of things to come. It is a glimpse of the life that awaits us when we listen to the message from missionaries; our souls gain a place in the afterlife as a reward for the faith we have lived in Jesus.

As parents, do you resent your children who want to be a priest, a religious, or a nun? Or do you pretend to not understand their language? As parents interpret the language of their children, can they not interpret the language of their adult children? Or do they turn a deaf ear to their choice of vocation in the Church? The generational gaps can be a hindrance when we try to make vocation choices but discussing vocations in our families is important. The Church needs priests, religious, nuns or volunteers, and these come from your families. Learn the interpretation of this language "my sheep hear my voice." What does this mean for your family? Keep praying!