Good Shepherd Sunday
This Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The Gospel readings for the different annual cycles of Sunday readings are always taken from Chapter 10 of St John’s Gospel on this day, in which Jesus refers to himself as the shepherd who cares for and is prepared to lay down his life for his sheep or as the gate to the sheepfold who allows us to live under his protection and guidance.
Today is also the annual day of prayer for vocations and I have included a prayer for vocations based on the reflections of Pope Francis at the end of the Record.
On Monday we celebrate the Feast of St George, patron Saint of or country and on Wednesday the Feast day of St Mark the Evangelist.
A couple of months ago I referred to an arts installation to be located here which was at the proposal stage as part of this years ‘Liverpool Biennial Contemporary Arts Festival’. The project, designed by the artist Ryan Gander in conjunction with schoolchildren, consists of five benches located at the rear of the Cathedral Precinct. The design concept was that of dividing the shape of the Cathedral into segments or pieces and then re-assembling those segments to create five different shapes for benches which would then be scaled up and cast in concrete. The various planning bodies have now given approval for the installations to be in situ for a limited period of time and these will be installed at the end of May/ early June. You will probably need your coat and hat to sample the benches as the top area of the Cathedral is prone to strong winds.
Pope Francis has recently written and published a new Papal Exhortation entitled ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ (Rejoice and be glad) promoting the desire for holiness which he argues is possible for all whatever our situation. The document is short, 34 pages long, and refreshingly free of complex theological phrases. One commentator summarised it saying ‘In Gaudete et Exsultate’ Pope Francis eloquently promotes this ‘new holiness’ by seeing the inclusive mystery of small everyday things in a programme of incarnate holiness that rejects dull mediocrity and religious elitism. He has refreshed the church’s call to holiness as the goal of all human life.’
Prayer for Vocations:
Lord of the harvest. Bless young people with the gift of courage to respond to your call. Open their hearts to great ideals, to great things.
Inspire all your disciples to mutual love and giving – for vocations blossom in the good soil of faithful people.
Instil those in religious life, parish ministries and families with the confidence and grace to invite others to embrace the bold and noble path of a life consecrated to you.
Unite us to Jesus through prayer and the sacraments, so that we may cooperate with you in building your reign of mercy and truth, of justice and peace.