Tuesday, 3 August 2021

St. John Vianney - Memorial

What does it mean to be a shepherd? A shepherd guides and guards the sheep under his care, even to the extent of dying for his sheep by defending the sheep when being attacked by wolves and other predators. Being a shepherd is certainly a great responsibility, and that is why finding young men and women who are willing to be shepherds to their communities is no easy task. One needs to constantly pray for God's help so that more and more young men and women would answer God's call to work in God's vineyard as shepherds. Not only that, one also needs to encourage one's own children to discern and consider a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.

In today's Gospel, "Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness. And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’" Jesus invites us to come forward and labour as His shepherds, but how many of us are willing to respond? As time goes by, many of our present shepherds are getting old or have retired from active service. This means that new shepherds are needed to continue labouring in the harvest.

Today we celebrate St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests. Let us not only pray for our parish priests and give them our encouragement and support, but also encourage more and more young men to answer God's call to become priests. Many of our present priests, some of which are parish priests, are not so young any more, no longer "spring chicken," but they still continue serving in God's harvest as best they can. May the Lord grant us more labourers to his harvest, to build His kingdom and give Him the glory.

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