armaghpriest
A Reflection for Vocations Sunday 2015
by armaghpriest.com on April 22nd, 2015

Ongoing discussion and debate about the downturn in the economy, the prospects of unemployment for many, the demise of small schools and hospitals, along with many other religious and social changes, have all conspired to undermine that sense of belonging which is essential to our well-being.


In many hearts in western society, there is a growing sense of alienation that can lead to despondency and hopelessness and even, to suicide. Again and again Jesus refers to us as those who belong to him, the ones to whom he will give eternal life and who will never be lost. As we are told in today’s Second Reading, our relationship with Jesus is so intimate that we are to be called “children of God”. On the other hand, the Gospel of the Good Shepherd is an incredibly reassuring one in which we hear in the metaphor of the shepherd, Jesus’ pledge to continue to care for us and love us as he loves the Father and the Father loves him. It is an encouraging and revitalising message, a message of hope. The challenge is to believe it personally and to live accordingly.

A necessary requirement for growing into such faith conviction is to experience that sense of belonging to a community of believers who support each other in practical ways as well as sharing prayer and praise of God. Without such an experience of genuine secure belonging, faith in a caring God is almost impossible today. So the young move elsewhere. Therefore the challenge for all followers of Christ is to build vibrant, faith filled communities and parishes, centred on the Eucharist, and influencing the affairs of daily living. To this task, some dedicate their lives full time as priests, deacons and religious. The role in forming community and gathering the people around the table of the Eucharist is a central role.

On this Vocations Sunday, we are invited to pray once again that such leaders in the faith will never be found wanting. The need for them was never greater. The demands have never been more intimidating, the opportunities never more challenging, the rewards never more worthwhile.

“Lord, inspire young men and women to give their lives to the building of your Kingdom on earth; we pray especially that some, in our own parish, will be alert to the promptings of your Spirit whispering to their hearts. May they have the courage and the grace to hear your call and answer it”.
 
Rev Peter McAnenly
Vocations Director
Archdiocese of Armagh


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