“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27)

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 13:14, 43-52

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats. Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God. On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 7:9, 14B-17

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

John 10:27-30

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”

This Sunday is World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Pope Francis released on April 2, 2019 an apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit (“Christ Lives”) reflecting on the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment. In Chapter 8, the last part of the document, he gives excellent guidance to young people about vocation. While his advice is primarily for young people, I think it is equally valuable and inspiring to people in all stages of life. Let us hear from him.

The Holy Father said that the word “vocation” can be understood in a broad sense as a calling from God, including the call to life, the call to friendship with him, the call to holiness, and so forth. This calling from God situates our whole life in relation to the God who loves us. It makes us realize that nothing is the result of pure chance but that everything in our lives can become a way of responding to the Lord, who has a wonderful plan for us.

Our own personal vocation is something more than the work we do: it is a path guiding our many efforts and actions towards service to others. This gives greater value to everything we do. Our work is no longer just about making money, keeping busy or pleasing others. It becomes our vocation because we are called to it; it is something more than merely a pragmatic decision. In the end, it is a recognition of why I was made, why I am here on earth, and what the Lord’s plan is for my life. He will not show me every place, time and detail, since I will have to make my own prudent decisions. But he will show me a direction in life, for he is my Creator and I need to listen to his voice, so that, like clay in the hands of a potter, I can let myself be shaped and guided by him. I will become what I was meant to be, faithful to my own reality. I am inspired to bring out the best in myself for the glory of God and the good of others. It is not simply a matter of doing things, but of doing them with meaning and direction.

In ending Chapter 8 Vocation, the Pope writes “Jesus is walking in our midst, as he did in Galilee. He walks through our streets, and he quietly stops and looks into our eyes”, “Yet today the stress and quick pace of a world constantly bombarding us with stimuli can leave no room for the interior silence in which we can perceive Jesus’ gaze and hear his call” (277, Chapter 8).

How many times and how often have I missed encountering Jesus because I have focused too much on the things of the world? Many times and very often.

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 10:27). As we go about our busy life in this noisy world, may we be inspired by the Pope’s advice, ponder on our busyness and seek out the calm and quiet in our hearts. It is only in this interior silence that we can hear and follow Jesus our Good Shepherd.

Posted: May 12, 2019

Shiu Lan

 
Shiu Lan is your Catholic neighbour with a simple faith and likes praying the Rosary. With a B.Sc from the University of Hong Kong, she worked in Information Technology and Project Management before working with joy at home.


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