In the Gospel today, St John uses the image of the shepherd to offer the reader an insight into the God of Love. Christ is the Good Shepherd who looks after his flock. Like all good shepherds, He keeps his flock close to Him.
In 2005 Pope Francis declared the Year of Mercy and used the icon that shows Jesus carrying a man on his shoulders. This is Jesus as the Good Shepherd, carrying ‘Adam’ on his shoulders. When Jesus finds his lost sheep, “he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbours and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ Discovering the love of God, brings us a joy that can only be described as contagious. It is a joy that must be shared to be fully experienced.
Today is also designated Vocations Sunday – a day when we pray in a special way for vocations. We must remember, though, that the word ‘vocation’ is more than just a call to serve the Lord in the ministerial priesthood or religious life. By our very baptism we are all called to serve the Lord in whatever way we can. While we pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, we also pray that we may all have the strength to live out our Christian vocation.
“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.
I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about.”