Looking back, I have come such a long way as a person from young till now in renewing my faith through the people that I have met and I am grateful for their help in allowing me to overcome my own obstacles in life and also in the spiritual areas. It is hard at times to know that people make life difficult for you even when you have done no wrong; sometimes I feel like just being at home, away from the people who make life tough for me, but I know that I am stronger than that as I have both family and friends whom I can trust and belong to. A community can only grow through words of encouragement and affirmation and not by words of mockery or spite.
This week’s gospel puts the focus on Jesus as the good shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep which is humanity to save them from sin and in doing so, we may be his witnesses to others in their journey of finding Jesus. The gospel says,” I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just the Father knows me and I know the Father” (John 10:11-18). Only Jesus knows us best, our strengths and weaknesses, but he wants us to hear his voice so that he can work through us in touching the lives of others around us.
Jesus gives us the power to take up our crosses and so we have the power to take them up in serving others in one way or another as revealed to us. I have always pictured the shepherd as somebody who is free in guarding the sheep but before night falls, he will have to be accountable in ensuring that all the sheep are safe in their holding area where they can retire for the day. Therefore, the flock represents the church where the shepherd is Jesus, guiding us by using our talents,gifts and our hearts to continue his good work in aspects that we are able to do so.
Last night, I had the privilege to attend the Church of the Holy Spirit Gala Dinner at Orchid Country Club to raise funds for their building and alteration project to bring Jesus to others and for others to come to know Jesus. It was an entertaining evening of music and performances from the talented individuals and ministries who through their gifts gave glory to God. It was a brief respite from school for which I am grateful so that I can relax for a bit. I hope that the church will hit their fundraising quota for the night and that the flock can continue to donate generously in making the project a reality!
Yesterday, I picked up a copy of “Man of God, Man for Others” written by Msgr Ambrose Vaz and published by CatholicNews as part of Vocation Sunday. All of us have our own unique vocations that only Jesus and we ourselves know about. As I casually flipped through the informative booklet, I chanced upon this statement by Msgr Ambrose Vaz on the context of vocations:
“Usually the doubts would be the evil one’s way of making us forget our dignity,our calling and the empowerment God gave us when he called us to be priests.” The evil one can make us forget that we have what it takes and then we stop believing that we have it.”
“Doubts are disguises of the Evil one to make us forget what we have already received and we have the assurance that God is with us. Often we need to realise that we have the call within us. Ultimately it helps us to overcome the doubts.”
It is important to keep discerning our own personal vocation in life and to continue to pray for all priests and religious that they bring the community of Jesus closer and to reach out to those still living in darkness. Also we remember to keep our Pope Francis’s intentions for the month of May in our hearts that by rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for those that suffer,especially the poor and the sick, and also Mother Mary’s intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures to be ready to proclaim Jesus.
Therefore as we seek to follow Jesus who is our shepherd,let us continue to make prayer our way of life by praying with others and teaching others to pray. We should take this time to say a prayer for those affected by the earthquake in Nepal that they will be comforted and that immediate assistance will be rendered to those affected (#Pray for Nepal). God Bless!
“PATER NOSTER, qui es in caelis, sanctificetur nomen tumm. Adveniat regnum tuum. Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo et in terra. Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie, et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimis debitoribus nostris. Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo. Amen” – (The Lord’s prayer Our Father in Latin).
Written By: Darren Chan Keng Leong