4th Sunday Easter A
This Sunday has been called Vocations Sunday and bishops traditionally expected their priests to preach on vocations to the priesthood. I’ve never been at ease with using the Sunday Eucharist or the sacred act of preaching to advertise things, however worthy of publicity. The gospel offers us the image of a shepherd leading a flock of sheep. How many of us have actually ever seen a shepherd in action with a herd of sheep? I feel this imagery needs to be massaged into something more relevant for today. Earlier this week I drove up and parked in a quiet spot in the hills overlooking south Dublin. Everything was quiet beyond measure but for the bleating of a solitary sheep in the distance. And then my phone rang.
Our world is one of phones, radios, TVs, video games. We seem to be surrounded by sound tracks and video displays which invade our space at every turn. So many voices come at us each day. There is so much to distract us and keep us from attending to what’s really going on in our lives. There are people who yearn for silence. We don’t have to become monks or nuns, but we need conditions that help us sort things out. We need to know how to ignore the idle chatter that comes at us from the outside and throwing us off kilter, and recognise what our true inner voice is saying – a voice that is trying to keep us focused and on message.
Our generation needs a voice it can trust – to inspire us and help us set the pattern of our lives. Using the image of a caring and guiding shepherd Jesus presents himself to us as that trustworthy voice. Amid the cacophony of voices today that call upon us and draw us hither and thither we need to be able to recognise his authentic voice. Jesus called his disciples to be servants, servant shepherds. His call to serve still reverberates in the minds and hearts of his latter day followers when they recognise him living in them – Gal 2 20. Their recognition of him doesn’t come easy, but through much reflection and prayer. His voice, like a whisper that caresses us gently, is more felt than heard.
In light of the Gospel’s call to servant-shepherding, Fr Kieran O’Mahony OSA asks: Who will lead the community?
Who will teach and preach the faith?
Who will celebrate for us on Sunday?
Who will guide us in prayer and spirituality?
Who will be there for us at the birth of our children?
Who will accompany us at times of transition and tragedy?
Fr QQ – 04/26/2023