The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Acts 13:14.43-52, Rev. 7:9.14-17, Jn 10:27-30. On this Fourth Sunday of Easter also known as Good Shepherd Sunday Year C, the Church invites us to reflect the presence of Christ in our midst as the Good Shepherd of God’s people. On this day, the Church enjoins us to pray for credible vocations to the Priesthood and to Religious Life. The emphasis of today's first reading switches from Peter and the other Apostles to Paul and his companions. There is also a change from ministry primarily with those who are Jews or who are leaning toward Judaism, to a concentration on the spread of the goodnews to the Gentiles. Obviously the Gentiles rejoiced in this proclamation of the goodnews, while the strict Jews were offended by Paul’s message. The Psalmist reminds us that all those who develop a relationship with God are sheep of His flock. We belong to God and with that bond comes the assurance of God’s protection and gifts. That relationship should lead to the joyful praise of God.
The glimpse of the Heavens is presented to us in today's second reading where we are led to a place that enables us to have an experience of the eternal celebration of praise that will take place. The Heavenly worship will be celebrated by an innumerably large crowd of people from every place and time. Those participating will be wearing the white robes which they received when they were baptised into the death and resurrection of the Lamb. It is not just those who are martyrs, but all who have witness to the Lamb by their way of living. It is the Lamb who is the centre of our worship and who provides for all the flock gathered around in praise. The moment of this eternal celebration will be a time of profound joy and peace, when there will be no sadness or pain. Today’s Gospel deals with the unity which exists between Jesus and His Father and which flows out to the flock which His Father has entrusted to Him. He tends the flock exactly as His Father wills because He knows His Father’s plan. Christ the Good Shepherd speaks to us everyday and in different forms and through different means. It is through listening to the Good Shepherd that we come to know Him and by knowing Him deeper and closely, we are attracted to build personal and intimate relationships with Him. It is by listening to the Good Shepherd that we are disposed to follow Him and do what He commands us to do and by following Him we place ourselves in the farthest distance and in a place where it is impossible for the evil one to steal us from Him.
May the Lord help us to be attentive to the voice of the Good Shepherd, so that we may be with Him in eternity! Amen!! Good morning and happy Good Shepherd Sunday!!!