By Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S.
Pause for a moment. Do you hear it? The gift of peace and quiet. Sometime ago, someone sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal entitled, The Sounds of Silence. The author observed that it is amazing how cluttered life can become. There is so much to distract us and keep us from paying attention to what’s really going on in our lives.
The article goes on to lament the loss of our interior life, spending time in silence. There is so much noise in our lives coming from the television, iPhone, earbuds, video games, Alexa voice service and Zoom sessions, continuous background noise in cars, elevators, stores and restaurants.
It is important to take a step back every once in a while to discern what is idle chatter and what is the voice of God trying to speak to us in our hearts. People in every generation need a voice they can trust, that cornerstone that inspires them and helps them to set the pattern of their lives. Jesus offers himself to us as that trustworthy voice.
When you stop and think about it, so many other voices in our lives serve only to distract and scatter us. They don’t have our best interest at heart. The message of Easter is clear: God desires for us to be with him for all eternity! To help us in this journey, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to guide us to become more patient and less controlling, to become less judgmental and more merciful, and to be reconciled with others through the gift of forgiveness.
Jesus the Good Shepherd knows each of us as his very own and speaks to us the truth that we are children of God. In this Easter season we receive the invitation to follow the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for us. Jesus wants us to realize that each of us have been given a flock to care for, a flock to lead and nurture and protect. That flock can be our family, our set of friends, the people we encounter at work, or those we meet in the community.
Each of us has the responsibility and the privilege of looking after and caring for someone else. In accepting this responsibility, we can either be good shepherds or bad shepherds. We can either know and love those entrusted to us or we can run from responsibility and show no concern for those under our care.
On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations, we are encouraged to reflect upon the call we have received from the Lord. At the time of our baptism, we became children of God and received the vocational call to holiness, to live as Jesus lived by following his example and walking in his ways. Some live out their call to holiness in the vocation of marriage, others through the single life, and some will respond to the call to holiness through a vocation as a priest, sister, brother or deacon or consecrated virgin.
I don’t believe God has stopped calling people to ministry within the Church; it’s just that we’re so easily distracted by the many voices crying out for our attention. Parents and grandparents, it is important that you encourage your children to think of religious life as a possible vocational choice so that the Church will have faithful leaders for the future.
Following Jesus the Good Shepherd may mean that we find ourselves in the dark valley and yet, Jesus is there to protect us with rod and staff. Other times we are led along the path to peace, being nourished with his Body and Blood, guided by his living Word, and supported by this community of faith.
As Jesus poured out his lifeblood on the cross, he sealed God’s covenant of love, and this covenant promises a future full of hope. Take some time today to listen to the silence, hear the voice of Jesus reassure you that in him, you will find the Truth that leads to lasting peace.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
Fr. Angelo Anthony, C.PP.S., is the pastor of the Downtown Dayton parishes, which include Emmanuel, Holy Trinity and St. Joseph. He also serves as the vice moderator general of the worldwide Congregation.