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The Good Shepherd, Mothers and Our Vocation

John 10: 27-30

Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday, Vocations Sunday and Mother’s Day. We also mourn the loss of Jean Vanier founder of L’Arche and co-founder of ‘Faith and Light’.

Easter is the season where we acknowledge the gift of eternal life won for us in Christ. He is the Good Shepherd leading us and guiding us to springs of living water. Our parents, and in this instance our mothers are co-workers in enabling Christ to bring this about. I am very grateful to my Mum for her care, witness to faith and things of God when I was young. Things of faith are taught but they are most especially caught as the saying goes. My Mum was not perfect, just as we are not perfect, and Mum and I didn’t always see eye to eye, but she was warm, loving, full of humour and passionate about her faith. I am grateful to her for the way she lived out her vocation and how that included me and influenced me.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Great Grandmothers, Grandmothers, Mothers, nurturers and care givers out there. All those who are and have been mother’s in some shape or form, I hope you have a special day and feel appreciated for the gift you are.

For all our Mum’s who have died, may they be caught up in the great mystery of Christ’s Resurrection and enjoying his gift of eternal love. He says of the sheep that belong to him, ‘I give them eternal life; they will never be lost…’ We remember our mothers who have died and give thanks for them.

Today being Vocation Sunday is a chance to examine our own call and response to Christ’s invitation in our lives. He was sent by the Father as our Good Shepherd, we in turn are sent as the first disciples were, to communicate his spirit and be carriers of the life he has richly blessed us with. We do that in different and essential ways. What we need is a culture of vocation where we develop the habit of listening, ‘The Sheep that belong to me listen to my voice’, Jesus says. Each of us is called whether it be as a single person, a married person, a religious or priest and challenged to follow Christ according to our gifts.

From time to time, great witnesses emerge as shining examples of our humanity and attentive listeners to the Shepherd. One such figure is Jean Vanier. We have several groups inspired by his founding dream in Aotearoa.

He was deeply concerned about the treatment that people with learning disabilities faced in institutions. His vision was one of radical welcome, inclusion and joy, where marginalized people with learning disabilities are valued and celebrated.

Jean was 90 and died in France. A national memorial service will be held for him in Christchurch on June 8th to honour him and give thanks for his legacy.

Each of us from the very beginning have a purpose to fulfil, a vocation to live out. Some of us are healers, leaders, creators, innovators, trail blazers, helpers, supporters, pray-ers. There is a variety of calls and a variety of gifts. Christ is the one who calls us to share those gifts. Our place is richer and blessed by our presence if we listen to his voice, follow him and live out of that unique call. We just need to think of the sacrifices our parents made for us and the inspiring people and mentors we have known such as Jean Vanier. Those people more interested in bringing life to us than promoting themselves. This of course is enabling the kingdom of God to come among us as we pray in the ‘Our Father’ every day.

Many of you would know the song I sing with Mum recorded when she was 75. It is a precious taonga (treasure) given Mum is no longer here. You may like to listen to it on this day and think about your own Mum. It’s called, ‘I want to sing with you, Mum’ - track 17 from the album, ‘A collection of his Songs 1990-96’

As a tribute to Jean Vanier you may like to listen to ‘Human’ - track 3 from the Album "Serenity".

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