Pastor's Desk: Good Shepherd Sunday
Welcome everyone to our Eucharist this Sunday. This fourth Sunday of Easter is called “Good Shepherd Sunday” and designated by the Holy Father as Vocations Sunday. The Good Shepherd element comes from the Gospel that we hear today where Jesus speaks of “His sheep” and how they know Him and listen to His voice. This image of Jesus as the good shepherd is one that dominates the images in the Catacombs of the early Christians. Christ is seen carrying the lambs on His shoulders, caring for them day and night and providing for their every need. It is an image that would be very easily understood in the time of Jesus and indeed would resonate with those who have a farming background even today. They know the commitment involved in being a good shepherd.
The care of Jesus for us His flock can be seen by way of the many gifts, talents and abilities he gives to us His people. Each one of us is a unique creation of God and God has given to us abilities that are uniquely ours. These gifts of God have to be discovered over the course of our lives and used for the benefit of the community. They are not given to us to be locked away but must be shared with others. The challenge then for each of us is to find our vocation. Traditionally, Vocation was understood in a very narrow way as meaning been called to the priesthood or religious life but since the Second Vatican Council we have a much richer understanding of the term vocation; it is that unique giftedness that the Lord has given to us from the moment of our creation and which is consecrated though our baptism for the good of the faith community.
We see this in very real terms by the number of people who give of their talents and abilities in this parish so generously. We recall also our Volunteering Sunday last October when over 100 people offered their services to the community on top of all who were already involved. In this way, Jesus is the Good Shepherd caring for His flock. He provides for our needs; we must open ourselves to His prompting and trust in His words then we allow His will to be done.
First Eucharist and Confirmation
We welcome very especially today the boys and girls preparing for First Holy Communion and their parents and guardians who have their last preparation Mass today at the 12.30pm Mass. It will not be long before they join us in receiving the Body of Christ each week. We wish them every blessing. For the boys and girls receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation time is even shorter! We celebrate Confirmation on Friday with Monsignor Lorcan O’Brien V.G. Please remember them in your prayers.
Have a great week.