FR. ANDREW WRITES:-
At the moment there seem to be crises in leadership. You don’t have to look far in the world to see that. It was heartening to see the tributes paid recently to Prince Philip who has offered seventy years of public service and has now retired at the tender age of 95! He is known for his unstinting dedication and support of the Queen and, yes, jokes! The Queen is a widely respected leader and is not ashamed of sharing her Christian faith with others.
As Christians we follow a leader, Jesus. His way of leadership is different but effective. His leadership is one of service. ‘…the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out.’ (John 10: 1-10)
Each person is called to do something and has a vocation. The word vocation comes from the Latin vocare, which means to call. Most people are called to marriage and to work in the world. They can also feel called to a certain profession, e.g., teaching, medicine, nursing, the law, the armed forces, music, literature or art. They might say something like ‘I feel called to do this.’ Or they might ask the questions such as, ‘What am I attracted to?’ and (Gula, ‘Just Ministry’, Paulist Press, 2010,p. 5)
I can remember just after my First Communion serving at Mass watching the priest and thinking ‘I could do that!’ Here I am a priest for just over two years. A few are called to priesthood and religious life. God hasn’t stop calling people in 2017!
‘They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’ It is important to listen to the voice of God. This can only be done in quiet prayer and reflection.
Another way of working out what to do in life is to look at our gifts, by looking at gifts we can see God at work. Fr Richard Gula writes, ‘Our gifts are the way God’s Spirit is at work blessing us so that we can, in turn, bless another.’ (Gula, p. 12,). Discernment is a buzzword for Pope Francis. How to discern a gift?
‘What comes naturally to you? What are you good at? What enthuses and energises you? What enables you to keep moving ahead? What gives you a sense of joy and fulfilment so that you want to say, “This is a good way to live, and it really fits me!”? What have others recognised in you and asked you to contribute to them?’ (Gula, p. 12)
Jesus says ‘I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10). By using our God given gifts that we can live this life. Each of us is called to lead others to Jesus Christ. On this Good Shepherd Sunday let us ask God to provide new spiritual leaders, priests for His Church.