4th Sunday Easter – April 30, 2023


A young farmer, standing in his field, one day, observes a peculiar cloud formation. The clouds miraculously seem to have formed the letters G, P, and C, and he thinks that it’s a calling from God to… Go Preach Christ!

So the farmer rushes to the pastor of his church and insists that he’s been called to preach. Respectful of his ardor, the priest invites him to prepare the homily for next Sunday.

When the weekend arrives, the farmer gets up to the Ambo and proceeds to give a long, tedious, and virtually incoherent homily to the gathered faithful.

When he’s about to sit down, the pastor who patiently listened to the homily, stands up at his chair and announces to the farmer,  “It seems to me that God wasn’t telling you from the clouds to ‘Go Preach Christ.’  He was telling you to ‘Go Plant Corn.’ ”  (Christianity TodayGod’s Calling Plan by Gordon MacDonald, Fall 2003)

Callings!   Sometimes, we get them right and sometimes, we get them wrong!   When we’ve erred, most likely is because we just haven’t taken enough time to clearly discern what it is that the Lord may be asking of us.  And when that happens, God makes it abundantly clear that we need to make a course adjustment.

At the root of every vocation, though, is the common call to love!   The first letter of John 4:16 proclaims, “God is love, and all who live in love, live in God and God lives in them.”   Yes, God who is love, is at the heart of every vocation, every calling that we’ve been given.   He’s created us, in fact, to fulfill a particular purpose, a particular part of the Divine Plan at this particular moment in time and this particular place, and also gives us the means whereby we can discover what that particular vocation may be.

One of those means centers around what Jesus says in the last sentence of today’s gospel passage: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly  (overbrimming, outpouring, gushing over).”  (John 10: 10)

Henry David Thoreau a transcendental philosopher and naturalist (1817 to 1862) sums it up what Jesus means by living abundantly in his book, On Walden Pond, when he writes “ ‘I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep, and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like, as to put-to-rout, all that was not life.”

We can ask ourselves then, the following questions:   What does God want to teach us in this life?   In what ways has God asked us to reflect on the true purpose of our existence, of our lives?  In what ways has God directed our lives to live deep, and suck out the marrow of life?

Such an authentic calling from God necessitates…..

  • a rejection of living on a superficial level. (example found in T.S. Elliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,   which describes the “inner monologue of a city gentleman who is stricken by feelings of isolation and inadequacy and incapability of taking decisive action” in his life.
  • famous verses 13-14, “ In the room, the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo.” Much to J. Alfred Prufrock’s chagrin, the women at the party keep the conversation “light, airy and without feeling.”  Instead of going deeper, the conversations at the party only seek to distance him from the women,  as if he were “on an island in the sea of academia.” (poemanalysis.com)
  • To not just go through the motions without knowing why (Socrates: The unexamined life is not worth living.”)
  • to not be primarily influenced by what others may think of our choices, but mostly driven by what choices God desires us to make. (Paul, the new convert)
  • to be passionate about our lives every day! (Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Sister Mary Clarence tells the student, Rita, whose mother doesn’t want her to be a singer this advice:  If the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning is singing and the last thing you think about before you go to bed at night is singing, then you’re meant to be a singer.”)


What Jesus is getting at is that life is to be lived with a passion!   Life is meant to be abundant, overbrimming, gushing over!)    And when we embrace our vocation(s),   that doesn’t mean it will be easy from that moment on!  (Just talk to a first-time mother or father!)   Far from it,  embracing our vocation means working at living it, to the best of our ability, every day!    It means asking for the graces to be courageous, bold and inspiring in the living out of our lives, as we seek to be faithful witnesses to the Good News that God is with us!

Whether it’s to be a husband, wife, mother, a student,  a CEO, an artist,  a computer programmer,  a priest, deacon, religious sister or religious brother, or a single person, we’re all called to live our lives abundantly and without reserve.

That means striving to get better at living out our vocations each day and never taking our callings for granted.  It means also supporting one another in our vocations, especially when we face difficult challenges along the way.

What do we do though, if we haven’t been living an abundant life, if we’ve been living someone else’s dreams, or if we think we’re being called to something else?

It may not be too late to get back on the right track and discover what God is asking of us in this life!  Sometimes, it may require that we take up our cross, and do what may be difficult. That realignment is best done through assiduous prayer and in dialogue with a spiritual director or someone whom we trust, to identify where God may be leading us and what steps we need to take to get there.     As it becomes clearer, we’ll discover a joy that comes into our hearts, indicating that God is in the choice of vocation.

The church asks us this weekend to particularly pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

  • to ask the Lord to send us men and women who are willing to live the Gospel in a radical way, by serving the People of God as Bishops, Priests, deacons, sisters and brothers.
  • to encourage those in our own parish to consider a life of vowed service to the Lord. (best example is a happy, joyful person!)  Invitation is key!
  • to consider a life like none other! —The life of a shepherd gently leading his flock closer and closer, to the heavenly pasture.


What do I do if I think I might have a religious vocation?  Speak to a Vocations Director/Animator or to me, your pastor.    He/she is always ready to help you discover the calling you may be receiving from God or to direct you to a person who may be a better fit for the type of calling you’re experiencing.


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