By Father Perry D. Leiker
Today is familiarly called Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also referred to as World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
Jesus speaks of a shepherd calling his sheep, and they know his voice and listen and follow. A shepherd is essential to the well-being of a flock of sheep. Without his guiding voice, they undoubtedly get lost, are attacked and eaten by the wolves, and just simply do not survive. The shepherd knows his sheep and cares for them.
The image is so simple. The image is, perhaps, a little strange in that it compares people to animals. But the image also provides an opportunity to appreciate cause and effect. The shepherd (of people) actually affects the community by being in a relationship of care, concern, love and service. It is an extraordinary life. It is one that fulfills on so many levels perhaps, because in some way it is absolutely divine or super-human.
Imagine being a voice of God — an instrument of his love, a connection for those who feel they have been cut off and have simply lost meaningful contact, a shepherd, a voice, an instrument, a piece of the puzzle that brings people back, puts their lives back together, brings meaning, and secures peace.
As church, we understand the pivotal role of the shepherd. We understand the need to call more shepherds and support those already in ministry. Perhaps this weekend someone among us will hear the call and feel the invitation to share the vocation of priest, deacon or religious.
No one should ever close the door on the possibility of a vocation. Surely, a very large number of priests, deacons, and religious men and women, are in their vocation never having thought they would indeed have a vocation. Rather, the vocation snuck up on them and they did not find a vocation — a vocation found them.
Father Perry D. Leiker is St. Bernard parish administrator. Reach him st (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112, or email email@example.com.