Fourth Sunday of Easter
Carlos Diaz (Seminarian)
Date Posted: May 1, 2020
‘He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out’
When I read this, it made me think of a common event that happened at home.
I remember growing up my mother would call my siblings and me. This meant dinner was ready and she wanted us to come set the table so we could start dinner. Sometimes, she would call us by the wrong name. We came anyway; we knew the drill.
This weekend is the fourth Sunday of Easter and it is commonly referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. This weekend is also commonly referred to as Vocation Sunday.
I want to share with all of you how the Good Shepherd called me to the priesthood.
One summer day in 2012, an aunt and cousin of mine came to visit from Mexico. After a few days, I grew tired of babysitting my younger cousin all the time. My aunt asked if I wanted to go out. That day I surprisingly said yes although I didn’t actually realize where she had invited me. I just remember I was excited. We went to a local chapel for one hour adoration. That is the day that I heard for the first time the voice of the Shepherd inviting me to be a priest. The call was not an actual voice saying “be a priest” but rather a strong desire to be a priest and celebrate mass. There I found a deep and profound peace. I knew I was in the presence of God of He who had given me the gift of life.
In the years that followed, as I was completing my degree in Environmental Studies, I took the practice of visiting the local parish before and after classes. It was during these daily visits that I heard the call to the priesthood more clearly and my desire to follow Christ more closely grew in my heart. During these visits, I came to know and recognize Christ’s tender care and voice. Christ’s voice is a constant call to conversion and improvement to better ourselves and to live a life of love and mercy. I understood the gift of life given to me by God, was to be shared with others in this particular vocation.
Today many people think of vocation as something that is a one-time event. I was called to be a priest so I am a priest; some of you were called to marriage and so you got married. These particular vocations along with the single life and consecrated religious are rather a way to live our lives. The call of the Good Shepherd to us is an ongoing daily occurrence inviting us to embrace him.
Everyone should strive to listen to the voice of the Shepherd more closely and to carry a conversation with Christ. There can be lots of noise around us but if we persist in prayer and give time to God and put away distractions for at least 15 minutes every day we will be able to recognize that subtle voice of the Good Shepherd calling our own name. There are so many things that the Lord wants to tell us. We just need to spend time with him on an ongoing basis. It can be 15 minutes in the morning and/or 15 minutes in the evening. Sometimes listening can be the hardest part because we might want to fill the time with spoken prayers.
Let us approach Jesus, the Good Shepherd; the door through which everyone is called to enter. He always offers abundant life. In contrast with my own mother, God never calls you by the wrong name. Let us be attentive in prayer and pray with intention so we might hear the Shepherd’s personal message to us.