The Fourth Sunday of Easter we traditionally celebrate as Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocations Sunday. This is because in the Gospel of the day (from St. John’s Gospel), Jesus speaks of himself as the Shepherd who is prepared to lay down his life for his sheep.
When a man becomes a priest, he sacrifices his own will and chooses instead to follow Jesus and he aspires to become as Christ to others. In doing so, he answers Christ’s call to serve the Church and its people.
In the Gospel of that Sunday we that the Good Shepherd - Jesus- knows his sheep, and they know him, recognising his voice which is unique. He affirms our belonging to the family of God: like the sheep, once we are part of his fold, we cannot be lost or stolen, since no-one can cheat God, and Jesus is one with God.
Evangelisation is at the core of the Church’s mission, so that we may all be ‘one flock’ with ‘one Shepherd’. As disciples of Jesus, we are all able to give witness to the generous love of our Father in heaven. This love is given willingly through the sacrifice of his Son, which which is perpetuated in the ministry of our bishops and priests, and which we remember at each Mass.
Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Year C): John 10:27-30Jesus said:‘The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice;I know them and they follow me.I give them eternal life;they will never be lostand no one will ever steal them from me.The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone,and no one can steal from the Father.The Father and I are one.’
In many dioceses, Good Shepherd Sunday is an opportunity to pray for vocations, to encourage those who might be considering ordained or religious life, and for each of us to ask ourselves whether the Lord might be calling us to do some definite service for him. Find out more by exploring the reading the vocations testimonies of our newly ordained clergy.
On this day, Southwark also asks for your assistance in supporting our seminarians through their training and formation, both through prayer and financial gift.