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

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Let Thy Hearts Be Sacred…

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus; 3rd June, 2016

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“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it and when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me for I have found the sheep which was lost.'”
(Luke 15:4-6)

A wonderful parable being told by our Lord Jesus Christ today. There are two sides of the story we are to fully grasp the lesson to be learnt however: the side of the lost sheep and the side of the shepherd.

The lost sheep: We have all felt lost sometime during our spiritual journey in life (and if you haven’t, I guess you’re one of the ninety-nine, Well done!). When we fall away from God’s faithful due to our sins, when we make ourselves believe we can get that lasting joy and happiness we seek in the world and its pleasures- those moments are the moments we identify with the lost sheep.

The shepherd: We are shepherds of some sort living in a self-absorbed world. Not everyone who had a hundred sheep who leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one which got missing. Isn’t that crazy? “That’s way too stressful!”, we’ll tell ourselves, “What if the sheep enjoys its lost state? What if a pack of big bad wolves come for the remaining ninety-nine, wouldn’t that be a greater loss? What’s one compared to ninety-nine anyways?” And thus this is how we let our lost brethren stray away from the faith they once believed in, we watch them drift away from God because we wouldn’t want to discomfort ourselves in searching for the lost and moreover we still have ninety-nine righteous brothers and sisters in Christ.

But God speaks to we the lost sheep today through the prophet Ezekiel:

“I myself will search for my sheep, and I will seek them out… I will rescue them from all the places where they have scattered… I will seek the lost and I will bring back the strayed and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak…”
(Ezekiel 34:11-16)

And Christ speaks to we the shepherds:

“Just so I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
(Luke 15:7)

It’s high time we let God in. It’s high time we stopped on the lost path we find ourselves in and pray to God that He come find and rescue us. We ought to imitate the good shepherd who goes all the way to find the lost sheep. We too could be means through which our lost brethren find their way back to God. We too can be a reflection of His love and compassion. So let’s make our hearts sacred. Let’s make it like Christ’s.