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Good Shepherd Sunday, 3rd May 2020, is also known as Vocations Sunday, a day when we pray for all vocations. The following is a reflection by Bishop John Sherrington about Vocations Sunday in the time of pandemic.

This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday. We hear Jesus the Good Shepherd calling us to the fullness of life. As a shepherd, he has a keen and sharp awareness for the needs of each one of us. Lovingly he tends us, soothes us and leads us through our life journey into the embrace of the merciful Father. Christ walks close to us, sometimes leading, sometimes at our side, sometimes urging and cajoling a stubborn heart depending on our need at the time. He is the Gate through whom we come to life. Good Shepherd Sunday invites us to reflect on how Christ calls each one of us to follow him more nearly, know him more clearly and love him more dearly.

Around the world, many catechumens are waiting to celebrate their baptism, confirmation and Eucharist. The COVID-19 pandemic has delayed their sacraments and so they wait to cross the threshold into full membership of the Body of Christ. The disruption and dislocation of the pandemic is causing many people to be aware of their fragility and vulnerability as well as to refocus on what is important in life. Many young people search anew for authentic living and to find the rich depths of love in their lives. We all need to be loved and to love.

Christ the Good Shepherd is the Gate who leads us to the fullness of life. We receive today an invitation to pray and thank God for the gifts we have received, to thank God for the gift of his Son and the Holy Spirit, as well as the ‘gift of himself’ poured out for us on the cross. His invitation is to model your life on Christ who came not to be served but to serve.

Today we recognise the need of being ‘WE’ to survive COVID-19 and the insufficiency of bring only ‘ME’. Heroism and saintliness shines through all who serve us in so many ways at this time. This is the model to imitate.

Today, how is Christ the Good Shepherd inviting you to respond to him for the whole of your life in a calling or vocation?

St John Henry Newman wrote:

‘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.’

We pray,

Holy Spirit, Lord of Life, breathe into me, stir my life, that I may love and follow Christ the Good Shepherd more nearly. Amen.