My Brothers and Sisters,
According to a letter received from Pope Francis, the Fourth Sunday of Easter offers us the figure of the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep: he calls them, he feeds them and he guides them. For 52 years, the universal Church has celebrated this Sunday as the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
What is a vocation? In 1964, Pope Paul VI instituted the world day of prayer for vocations, which is known as Vocation Sunday. The word “vocation” means “call” or “calling”. In the Church, we understand this as a call from God. When people say that someone has a “vocation”, they usually mean that this person is called to be a priest or a nun. Yet, the truth is: there are many different kinds of vocations. There is the vocation to the priesthood, to religious life, to married life, to single life, or to lay consecrated life. Each vocation is a gift from God. Every vocation has a special dignity and place in God’s plan of salvation.
The thing that all vocations have in common is holiness. All vocations are meant to guide us toward holiness. Each person, no matter what his vocation, is called to be a saint. What does it mean to be called to holiness? It means to be called by God to have a special relationship with Him ― to be united with Him. God loves us so much. He wants each of us to discover His Love in our daily lives. Seeing how God is present with us and how He always loves us are how we grow in holiness. To grow in holiness also means to do God’s will by sharing God’s Love with other people. When we share God’s Love with other people, Jesus is present, and Jesus’ presence reminds us that He takes care of us and is guiding us to Heaven.