English Mass prepared by El Shaddai in the Cathedral church
Sunday of the Good Shepherd, prayer for vocations
On sunday the 3rd of May we had an English live-stream Mass from our cathedral church, prepared by El Shaddai community (Amsterdam chapter). One of the seminarians, Juan Ignacio, told us how the Lord accompanied him and called him to the priesthood.
This Mass can still by followed on the cathedral You Tube channel (Kathedraal TV, see link on this website). There you can hear the nice testimony of Juan Ignacio, which was delivered after the gospel. Fr. Ruben Torres, spiritual adviser of El Shaddai community was there to concelebrate.
At the end of the sermon, you’ll find a prayer in times of Covid-19.
We are glad Ignacio is in our midst, because he is a seminarian and he bears witness to the Lord’s calling and the way the Lord as a good shepherd accompanied him on the path of his vocation
We are experiencing an extraordinary and unprecedented time. The Corona crisis all of a sudden has put us in a completely different situation from what we were used to have. We cannot explain exactly why this pandemic happens and how this happened; there are human causes we don’t know and we cannot fully understand the wondrous ways of the Lord. But we do can see some of the wonders He is working, even in this period of the pandemic. We notice, for instance that many, many people are following the live-stream-masses.
I hope you’ll have some peace in your hearts, that you may find some time to reflect, to meditate, to pray, to read in your bible and other spiritual books, to follow holy Mass on-line, maybe you have lit a candle and opened your bible or missal to create an atmosphere, that’s very good! And for some of you: maybe your life looks a little more like that of monk or a cloistered nun but there is nothing wrong about that. Maybe you will discover that faith, hope and charity becomes stronger, or even that the Lord is indicating you a new direction for your life. Listen to the Lord, like a sheep of His flock. Keep on going!
This Sunday is indeed dedicated to the Lord as a Good Shepherd. We all know the image. It is very popular and has always been. Christians in the first centuries depicted the Lord already as the Good Shepherd wearing a sheep on His shoulders. They did so in the catacombs in Rome, where they buried their deceased beloved ones.
Romantic? Not so much!
Maybe you think of this good shepherd in a very romantic way: the shepherd, nice and quiet, walking with his flock through green valleys and pastures. But no, it is not like that. Please, read the Gospel well: there are robbers and thieves, intending to steal and slaughter and destroy. And, of course, wild animals like wolves were endangering the flock and sheep would go astray. So, the shepherd has to be courageous and the good shepherd who knows his sheep, protects them and takes care of them. So, this is what our lives are like as sheep of the Lord’s flock: our life is not just quiet, peaceful and nice, it is full of dangers and threats. But, don’t be afraid: the Good Shepherd is there to protect us and to give eternal life. So, that is how the Lord is.
Vocation to the priesthood
And this, too, is what a priest is meant to be! A priest is meant to be a Good Shepherd at the image of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a beautiful vocation, but it takes courage. Several priests told me, for instance, that they were called to administer the sacrament of the sick to people suffering seriously from the Corona-virus. They did so, of course, clothed in protective suits. The Good Shepherd is there, where the sheep needs him to be.
Good from evil
Have trust in the Lord’s providence! In 1790 during the French Revolution an anti-clerical terror raged in France, forcing the priests to hide. Secretly they administered the sacraments in distant farms. Catechism was instructed privately and first holy communion was often celebrated in the kitchen of a farmhouse while the windows were covered so that the light of the candles could not be seen from outside. One of the boys receiving his first holy communion in such a way, was Jean Marie Vianney, at the age of thirteen. He began to look upon the priest as a hero and while his practice of faith continued and increased, he started to feel the vocation to become a priest himself. He became the famous Curé d’Ars, the parish priest of Ars who through mortification and prayer and the grace of God helped hundreds of thousands of people to experience the love of Jesus, to renew their faith and follow their vocation. Yes, God can do good even from evil. In difficult times, in times of crisis He is preparing already for the future, for a new start.
Please, young man!
This we should never forget. He is the Good Shepherd, He walks ahead of you, follow Him, listen to His voice. Your path will lead through dangers and threats, but it will lead to life and peace everlasting! And let us pray the Lord today, that He will grant His Church many new good shepherds. Please, young man, consider this vocation, perhaps the Lord is calling you!
Dear Lord, Good Shepherd, to you we pray
For those who serve and lead in the Church, that they may follow the example of Christ, the good shepherd. For our pope Francis, that the holy Spirit may guide and inspire him in this time of crisis. Lord, hear us
For all the members of the caring professions we pray, especially in this time of the virus with so much pressure on the health institutions, that the Lord may strengthen them and be at their side, so that the Lord’s compassion may be visible in them. Lord, hear us
For young people, that they may consider serving God’s people. That all those who are called may hear and understand the voice of the Good Shepherd and be open to His will, Lord, hear us.
For all those who are suffering, especially in this time of crisis, that they may experience God’s consolation and healing power.