The Good Shepherd 

4th Sunday of Easter, Year A; 7th May 2017.

At that time: Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

John 10:1-4, 7, 9-10

Two prominent words in today’s liturgy of the word: the sheep and the shepherd.

 The sheep. When the word ‘sheep’ comes up, we as Christians have that automatic default thought of the story about their seperation from the goats on the final day and how the sheep is used to depict gentleness and righteousness. But today Our Saviour lets us see the sheep through the gospel reading as something different: weak and without direction. And this is what we are if we can truly call ourselves sheep; gentle and righteous maybe, but weak and without direction. We are weak to trials and temptations on our own and bound to sin. Like sheep we are vulnerable, incapable of taking great care of our souls without grace and mercy, easily getting weary when evil strikes. We have no natural sense of the right direction most times and may deviate from the right track every now and then, if not guided.

The Shepherd. But Our Lord Jesus Christ presents Himself to us today as the Good Shepherd. He is the one who enters the sheepfold of our hearts through the open door without forcing His way in by climbing over our walls. He is the right voice we the sheep are to listen to and follow for it is He who gives us repose in fresh and greener pastures, leading us near restful waters thus reviving our souls. He is the door to our salvation, the door to the blessings and eternal life we seek. 

Although we as sheep are weak and seem not to know which way to go in life, our Lord Jesus the Good Shepherd assures us of how he is willing to go a great measure to protect us from the evil ones and save us from our foes. Like St. Peter in the first reading, we need to “save ourselves from this crooked generation,” a generation where the predator seeks to devour and destroy the sheep. We need to flee from the voice that calls out to us to sin. 

The Good Shepherd never stops calling us whenever we go astray to the voices of the world. May we listen to Him so that goodness and mercy shall be truly ours

That, You Did To Me… 

Monday in the First Week of Lent, 6th March 2017. 

“Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.”

Matthew 25:40

We go about our daily activities in the manner we see pleasing to us, failing to come to the realization of the truth the Gospel of today (Matthew 25:31-46) reveals: that one day, an account will be demanded of us of how we lived our lives here on earth. If only we had this in our minds everyday how careful will we be in the way we lived. Jesus Christ today separates the sheep from the goats. And who are these sheep: “those who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, welcomed a stranger, clothed the naked, cared for the sick and comforted the imprisoned”- those who carried out the Corporal Works of mercy with a free mind and loving heart. It’s amazing that the sheep didn’t even know that they were sheep for they asked;

“Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” (Matthew 25:37)

This is because they made these works of mercy and acts of charity a norm in their lives, a way of their life. In the end, nothing would be more important than living life immersed in good works. Our judgement won’t be based on the earthly possessions we have or our fame or even how religious we have made ourselves; the criterion of Christ’s judgement on us will be love: how much we loved and cared for others especially the less privileged who Our Lord Jesus Christ calls ‘his brethren’. The goats probably carried out these Corporal Works of mercy too, for they were surprised and asked Jesus; 

“Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?” (Matthew 25: 44)

But they didn’t do it to the less privileged; and if they did, definitely not with love. It was done to attract vain glory and self praise, for recognition from people for a deed well done. And thus they found themselves on the wrong side in the end. 

We are called to take heed to our Lord’s words because they are Spirit and Life. Let us not forget the reason to why we are here on earth: to live a life worthy of heaven. May we spend our time, treasure and talents in love alleviating the needs of less privileged in our society and helping our brothers and sisters so that we may be counted as sheep in the end.