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Called to sow seeds of hope and to build peace

The Fourth Sunday of Easter also known as the Good Shepherd Sunday is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. This year marks the 61st anniversary of this event which was initiated by Pope Paul VI during the Second Vatican Council in 1964.

Oluwakemi Akinleye fsp – Vatican City

In celebrating this occasion, Pope Francis reminds us that the World Day of Prayer for Vocations is “always a good occasion to recall with gratitude to the Lord the faithful, persevering and frequently hidden efforts of all those who have responded to a call that embraces their entire existence.”

Lord of the Harvest

tIn whichever vocation one finds oneself called – the priesthood, consecrated life, married or single life – it is important that “our life finds fulfilment when we discover who we are, what our gifts are, where we can make them bear fruit, and what path we can follow in order to become signs and instruments of love, generous acceptance, beauty, and peace, wherever we find ourselves” (Pope Francis).

The Lord of the Harvest continues to call labourers in his vineyard, because there are still mutitudes in need of inner healing, food for their physical and spiritual hunger, shelter, security and above all peace. To the young people, Pope Francis says, “More than anyone else, Jesus respects our freedom. He does not impose, but proposes. Make room for him and you will find the way to happiness by following him. And, should he ask it of you, by giving yourself completely to him.”

Caring for His sheep

Our world today needs more seeds of hope and peace. In the face of so much evil and suffering, Jesus the Good Shepherd continues to care for his sheep through labourers that he calls and sends. We see this through the life of Sr Anthonia Essien HHCJ a Professor of sociology of religion at the University of Uyo, Nigeria. Despite her busy schedule as a university professor, she still finds time to give of herself in carrying out anti-trafficking campaigns in rural villages in the south of the country, so that many minors and vulnerable adults will be protected from human traffickers. Thanks to this pastoral initiative, some victims have been rescued and many are now more enlightened on the ills of  trafficking in persons.

Pilgrims of hope and builders of peace

cePope Francis exhorts us that, “This is the goal of every vocation: to become men and women of hope. As individuals and as communities, amid the variety of charisms and ministries, all of us are called to embody and communicate the Gospel message of hope in a world marked by epochal challenges.”

As we respond to God’s call in our various vocations, we are invited to be pilgrims of hope and builders of peace through our faith in the risen Christ who is always with us. There will be challenges and failures on our path but the love of God in our hearts will continue to be for us light, consolation and strength in our daily journey in the Lord’s vineyard.

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