KOTA KINABALU: At the Morning Mass of Vocation Sunday, recently, the St Simon Catholic Church Likas community was led by young people in the celebration of the Mass.
The congregation at the Mass for Children and Young People heard rector Fr Cosmas Lee speak candidly about the roles of sheep and shepherd that Sunday, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday.
“Should the shepherd be in front of the sheep or behind?” Fr Cosmas asked the young people, to which some said “behind”. In surprise, the rector retorted: “Shepherds must be in front. How can the sheep lead the shepherd and go where they want oh?”
“You need to be brave to be in front. Jesus is in front. When you are young, most of the time you follow but when you grow up a little bit, you need to also be in front,” he said, citing the Junior Choir. “You see, the Junior Choir is in front today because they’re leading us.”
“The Gospel tells us that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, leads them out. Easy to lead or not? No. Why? Every Sunday got practice and you must be loud. To lead, you must show example. Not easy.
“But when we are young, we are asked to follow. From young, we must learn not just to follow but to lead. If I don’t follow, how to lead?”
On Vocation Sunday, Fr Cosmas said it is also important to listen. “Very important to listen because vocation means calling. The Good Shepherd is always calling us. We must listen so that we become what the Shepherd wants us to be. We pray that many will be priest and religious.”
“First and foremost, God calls us to be good sheep,” he said, adding that to be a shepherd, one must go down to the ground and get “dirty”.
“Pope Francis said ‘I prefer to have shepherds that smell’. Must go to the cattle shed. You want to be like Jesus? Must get dirty a bit.
“If you don’t get ‘dirty’, if you’re not there, then all the sheep will get lost,” he said, adding that Jesus loves us that He’s always a step ahead of us.
In his closing remarks, Fr Cosmas said Jesus as the Good Shepherd continues to lead the flock to green pastures so that one day, one of the sheep will become like Him – to lead the flock.