FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis we should be aware of the danger, but recognise the opportunity. On this ‘Vocations Sunday’ we acknowledge the crisis in the Irish Church with regard to vocations to priesthood and religious life, but we should see in this a wonderful opportunity to awaken what Cardinal Ó Fiaich once called the ‘sleeping giant’ of the laity. The mission of the Church is the mission of all. The purpose of all vocations is to manifest God’s love in the world, to be, as renowned Dutch theologian Henri Nouwen said, ‘a witness to the glimpses of God I have been allowed to catch’. To this task all the baptised are called, and all should embrace the challenge with confidence and reassurance, because God does not call the equipped, but He does equip the called. He has committed some work to me that He has not committed to another. St. Catherine of Siena, an Italian laywoman of the fourteenth century, grasped this truth which lies at the heart of vocation, and expressed it memorably: ‘If you are what you should be, then you will set the world on fire’.