4th Sunday of Easter


Dear Friends,

This Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’ as the focus is on Jesus who has accorded that beautiful title of ‘Good Shepherd’ to himself. Today is World Day of Prayer for Vocations when the Church throughout the world prays for and promotes vocations to priesthood and religious life. We have been doing this often. Our Parish Vocation Ministry has been promoting vocation as a call to holiness to which God has called everyone.

Even as we pray for more young people to answer the call to priesthood and religious life, we need to realize that shepherding is a vocation that is limited not only to priests, deacons, or religious men and women but also to parents, grandparents, teachers, counselors and others who guide, care for, nurture and lead those under their charge. Each of these shepherding roles has many challenges. Look at parenting for instance. Parenting is a divine call by which you become co-creators and sustainers of life with God. Children are a gift from God (Psalm 127:3-5) and the Bible is very clear about the responsibility of both father and mother in bringing up children with the right values. The Bible demands several things from Christian parents in their duty of parenting. Some of these are:

Availability – morning, noon, and night (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Involvement – interacting, discussing, thinking, and processing life together (Ephesians 6:4)

Teaching – the Scriptures and a biblical worldview (Psalm 78:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:10; Ephesians 6:4)

Training – helping a child to develop skills and discover his/her strengths (Proverbs 22:6) and spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3-8 and 1 Corinthians 12)

 Discipline – teaching the fear of the Lord, drawing the line consistently, lovingly, firmly (Ephesians 6:4; Hebrews 12:5-11; Proverbs 13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15-17)

Nurture – providing an environment of constant verbal support, freedom to fail, acceptance, affection, unconditional love (Titus 2:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Ephesians 4:29-32; 5:1-2; Galatians 5:22; 1 Peter 3:8-9)

Modeling with Integrity – living what you say, being a model from which a child can learn by “catching” the essence of godly living (Deuteronomy 4:9, 15, 23; Proverbs 10:9; 11:3; Psalm 37:18, 37).

That is a tall order! What makes it all the more difficult is the hostile cultural environment in which Christian parents find themselves fighting to protect their children. Many of the cultural values clash with the values that parents want to instill in their children. Hence, we need to support, help, appreciate, and encourage all our parents, as we pray for more good priests, more good deacons, and more good consecrated men and women. For, as Saint John Paul II said: “Jesus has a specific task in life for each and every one of us. Each one of us is handpicked, called by name by Jesus! There is no one among us who does not have a divine vocation!”  Yes, a vocation to holiness is for all of us.

Your brother in Christ,

Fr. Abraham Orapankal