4th Sunday of Easter
Gospel: John 10:27-30
Good Shepherd Sunday
Celebration of the 47th world day of Prayer for Vocation
“Good Shepherd Sunday” derives its name from the tenth chapter of the gospel of John where Jesus presents himself as the good shepherd who lay downs life for the flock. Jesus’ self revelation is divided in three pericopes for use in the three cycle of the liturgy.Today’s gospel reading focuses on the initiative relationship between the good shepherd and the sheep and the Lord’s protective care for his people.
Jesus as the good shepherd “Knows his sheep”. This goes beyond recognizing someone by name or characteristics. In fact biblical “knowing ” is so intimate and personal that is used to describe acts of intimacy between husband and wife. Jesus knows his own with a divine knowledge, as the Lord knows the deep secrets of the human heart.
The Good shepherd feeds the flock and protects them. He leads them to green pastures and to the running waters; he walks with them through dark valley that they may not fear in harm.(Psalm 23). He fights with fierce animal which prey on the sheep at the risk of his own life. Jesus literally offers his life on the cross so that the flock entrusted to him by the heavenly Father may posses eternal life.
The “actions” of the good shepherd knowing and caring can serve as powerful criteria when we choose our leaders let us ask our ourselves these questions before elections:Is there mutual knowledge between voters and candidates? Do people make an effort to know the person they are electing into office?do they believe in the integrity and capacity to lead their chosen candidates? or they are just voting for the “most popular candidate”? On the other hand, do the candidates know the needs of the people they have to,lead or to represent? By the standards of service, are the candidates qualified and willing to serve? Have they prepared a political program that they planned to implement once elected or did they join a political fray in the hope of lying their hands on the wealth and power that comes from the office?
Alas, “Servant of the people”. has become an empty and ironic slogan. Are the candidates running for office because they want to serve? Or because they desire to perpetuate a political dynasty or protect some vested interest?
The late Holy Father Pope John Paul II offers sound advice to those who called to public office:Live your involvement in politics as a service others, it is an approach as an magnificent as it is demanding. it cannot be reduced to some generic restatement of principles or a declaration of good intentions. Political service is lived in a precise and daily commitment which calls for great competence in the fulfillment of one’s duties and unswerving morality in the selfless and accountable exercise of power”
The Holy father addressed these words to government leaders as he introduced to them. The new Patron Saint of statesmen and politicians:St. Thomas More this “Man of all Seasons” proved himself a leader with the heart of a good shepherd. Their patron saint, the pope, reminded the world leaders, always put”himself at the service of the person especially the weak and the poor. Honor and wealth held no sway over him … above all he never compromised his conscience, even to the point of making the supreme sacrifice so as not disregard its voice”
As we also celebrate the 47th World day of Prayer for Vocation, let us entrust to Jesus the good shepherd all the religious in the world that they may preserve the gift of vocation that God has given them, and let us also pray the the Lord of the Mystical harvest to send out laborers into his harvest