Fourth Sunday of Easter – A

Kuwait City, 9-11 May 2014
Homily of the Apostolic Nuncio
His Grace Archbishop Petar Rajič

Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Pt 2:20b-25; Jn 10:1-10

According to the tradition of the Church, today’s liturgical celebration is  referred to as the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, which is a special day of prayer for vocations in the Church throughout the world. Christ is the Good Shepherd, who offered his life as a ransom for his flock. He protects his own, he leads them to good pastures, provides them with the Bread of Heaven, his grace sustains us, his light enlightens our paths, his character gives us courage, his determination gives us hope for the future. He is the pastor and bishop of our souls, the one pleading with us to choose life and his offer of life in abundance.

In the gospel Jesus makes use of a parable on the shepherd and sheep to emphasize that he is not only a shepherd but he says: I am the gate for the sheep… Whoever enters through me will be saved. Doors or gates are useful in separating spaces as well as outdoor and interior areas. A door provides for protection and keeps out undesirable guests. On the other hand, when the doors of our homes are open, we can gladly receive people and offer them our hospitality. And how wonderful it is to have friends who welcome you by saying ‘the door of my home is always open for you’.

Jesus is the one who constantly keeps his doors open to all, especially to those who are willing to recognize and listen to his voice. And what does our Good Shepherd say to us? I came so that they might have life, and have it more abundantly. Christ offers us not just any life, but all that God wants to give us: forgiveness, strength, health, love, joy, freedom and peace; in a word, to be united with him who calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. Our common vocation therefore is to live our lives to the fullest, yet not in the way the world would have us believe, but the way God intends for us. God’s plan for us is that we become his children willingly, and thereby live now and for eternity. The only condition to reach this goal is to believe it and desire it with all one’s heart and to listen to the voice of Jesus, who calls each of us by our own name. For this reason God, our good Father, is constantly calling upon us to willingly respond to his voice and enter through his doors, by opening wide the doors of our hearts so that we may become his sons and daughters.

The Good Shepherd is searching for good people even today, who will follow his example of living united with the Father in faith, ready to deny themselves, to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of others and joyfully witness for him in this world. Let us pray therefore today and often for new vocations, that God in his mercy may send more workers into his harvest who will happily and faithfully live for Him, for the Church and for the people they serve.

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