Today is the fourth Sunday of year of Easter year c, today is also known as the good shepherd Sunday, it is the world day of prayer for priestly life and religious vocations. As we celebrate good shepherd Sunday this year, Jesus the good shepherd, his life is an invitation for us as Christians of today his life is equally a challenge for you and , Jesus the good shepherd laid down his life for his sheep meaning he laid down his life for all of us, by extension those of us who are embraced Christianity, those of us who belief in the sacrifice Jesus made for us, we are invited in a special way on this good shepherd Sunday to emulate him and to live our lives as true shepherds.
We can see that even from today’s first reading in the attitude of Paul and Barabbas the first opposition as they went about preaching the good news of the kingdom. But that did not don’t them that did not stop them they rather when they were rejected they went somewhere else, that simply means they were convinced about the message they carried and as such they were willing to go the full whole to ensure more people listen and get the word of God. The opposition they encounter today is as a result of jealously because people were listening to them and conversions were taking place my brothers and sisters that is part of what it means to be a true shepherd by extension we are all invited on this good shepherd Sunday to emulate this wonderful attitude of Paul and Barabbas and also that of Jesus Christ himself.
We are called to be true shepherds in our different capacities as a father, as a mother, as a teacher, wherever we find ourselves even as a child or all of us in one way or the other, are invited to be shepherds, we have to invite the culture of Jesus, the culture of emptying the self, the culture of humility, the culture of letting go, so that the will of god can be done in our life and the life of others, we have to learn to be selfless, this is one attribute that is supply in our world today selfless people, when we are selfless we think about the collective, the common good not just being self-centered at the expense of the , that is why my brothers and sisters, on this good shepherds Sunday, it present to you and I the opportunity to make a firm resolution once again and abide the spirit and culture of Jesus, the culture that thinks about others, even more than the self, the culture that is willing to host the self for the good of others, the culture that is willing to let go and to let god, are we ready to do this, are we are ready to bring this to practice in our daily lives.
Today the world over vocations are prayed for, if you cannot serve god as a priest or religious can you also support those who are priests and religious already. It doesn’t necessarily mean, your financial contributions, it could also mean your prayer, this calls to mind the saying and the slogan of the Nigerian Spiritans south west which says that if you cannot go to the mission you can support those who go to the mission, my brothers and sisters let us encourage our words, let us encourage our children, instead of discouraging those who are willing to go and serve god in the religious way of life, let us encourage them through our prayers, through our finances, the world today is in denial need of honest and sincere people embracing the religious way of life. Let us pray in as a special way on this good shepherd Sunday that god will bring more people into the vineyard, priests after his heart, religious after his heart that will continue this wonderful sacrifice that god continues to make for you and I, my brothers and sisters the good shepherds Sunday is an opportunity for us, let us make good use of it, may god bless his words in our hearts.
Peace be with you amen.