Good Shepherd Sunday
Readings: Acts 4: 8-12 1 John 3:1-2; John 10: 11-18
Theme: We are all shepherds
Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter year B, and it is also known as the Good Shepherd Sunday. In the gospel reading, Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd. Thus, Jesus the good shepherd presents to us what it means to be a good shepherd; by laying down his life for his sheep. He gives all for the good of the sheep. This is what it means to be a good shepherd. Also in the life of Jesus, he shows us how to be a good shepherd both in word and indeed. Today is also a day for prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. According to Mathew 9:37,” …the harvest is great but the workers are few”.
Jesus lays down his life for us because of his love for us; not minding our fallen state at the time. He was driven by his love for us and willingly went to the cross to set us free and gain salvation for us. Simply put, he gave everything for us to attain salvation. Thus, as we celebrate good shepherd Sunday, it challenges you and I to make effort and imbibe the selfless life style of Jesus in our daily life and dealings with one another.
If you think you are not a shepherd, what kind of a sheep are you? Do you hear the voice of the master? This is a question we need to spend some time to reflect about. The story of Oscar Romero comes to mind as we celebrate the good shepherd. He was a man who gave all as a true shepherd just like Jesus did. He was the voice of the voiceless and stood against injustice and the sufferings of his people. This eventually led to his death on the 24th of March 1980; he was shot while celebrating mass. The life of Oscar is a challenge for ministers of God in our time. He was the voice of the voiceless in El Salvador. This is a call to action for Christians all over the world too, not only ministers of the word.
By virtue of the fact that we are all children of God, it means that we are all shepherds on different levels. What type of a Shepherd are you? Are you plundering the sheep that is under your care or you are a true shepherd? We are encouraged to live like Jesus the true shepherd, who gave everything for the good of his sheep.
We can also see that in the Maasai people in East Africa and the Fulani in West Africa, they are normads and are ready to protect their cows and goats with their lives. That is why you and I are called as children of God to do the same thing in our daily lives in our human relationships. The world, in which we live today, is in need of more Shepherds like Jesus. We are encouraged to live like true shepherds and not like hirelings in our dealings with each other. Unfortunately, some of us are more of hirelings than true shepherds; because our self-interest comes first in everything we do. Not minding what is best for the generality of the people.
We are all encouraged to be shepherds that are upright and represent God in sincerity of heart. We need shepherds that will carry the sheep along, shepherds that are willing to give all, not shepherds that exploit the sheep, not shepherds that plunder the sheep for their personal gains. Simply put, not hirelings that are disguised as shepherds.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we pray for the grace to be true Shepherds and not hirelings. Peace be with you. Amen.