Pope Francis reflected on the God’s calling to men and women during his address prior to the recitation of the Regina Caeli yesterday at St. Peter’s Square. The fourth Sunday of Easter, which is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday as well as Vocations Sunday, was marked by the ordination of 10 deacons to the priesthood earlier that morning.
The Holy Father reflected on the Gospel of the Good Shepherd, which he stated is the the “central nucleus” of Jesus’ Gospel in which “He Calls us to participate in His relationship with the Father.”
“Jesus wants to establish a relationship with his friends that is the reflection of the one he himself has with the Father: a relation of mutual belonging in total confidence, in intimate communion,” the Pope said.
“Jesus uses the image of the shepherd and his sheep to express this profound shared understanding, this relationship of friendship. The shepherd calls his sheep and they recognize his voice, they respond to his call and follow him. This is a beautiful parable!”
The Pope went on to say that if we learn to listen to the unique voice of Christ, then it will lead us along the path of life. A path, he continued, “that stretches even beyond death.”
Pope Francis then directed his word to the youth present in the square, exhorting them to heed God’s call.
In a moment of dialogue the Pope asked “Have you heard the Lord’s voice at some time in a desire, in upheaval, invite you to follow him more closely? Have you heard it? I can’t hear you.” The youth erupted with shouts and applause.
“Youth must be placed at the service of great ideals. Do you think so? Do you agree? Ask Jesus what he wants of you and be courageous! Be courageous! Ask him! Behind and prior to every vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life there is always someone’s powerful and intense prayer: a grandmother’s, a grandfather’s, a mother’s, a father’s, a community’s; This is why Jesus said: “Pray to the Lord of the harvest,” that is, God the Father, “that he might send workers for the harvest!”
Before reciting the Regina Caeli, the Holy Father asked the faithful to pray in particular for the new priests ordained and called on all to follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“She learned to recognize Jesus’ voice from the time she carried him in her womb. Mary our Mother, help us to recognize Jesus’ voice always better and to follow it to walk along the path of life! Thank you,” the Pope said.