This is one image of a good Shepherd that I really like the most, it is the image of a Shepherd looking for his lost sheep. After some times, he found his sheep on the edge of the cliff. With his left hand clinging on the tree trunk above him, he reached out his right hand to save his sheep from falling down the cliff. That image always moves me because, that was a great risk he took, risking his very life to save his beloved sheep. And that is a Good Shepherd, the one who would risk everything just to save his sheep.
Brothers and sisters, today our gospel speaks about Jesus as the Shepherd as well as the gate of the sheepfold. As a Shepherd, He took the risk of taking care of the sheep from thieves and brigands. As a gate for his sheep, he took the risk of preserving, protecting, and keeping them all together. He knows each of his sheep by name, that means that he cherishes and loves each of them equally, and parents could attest to this…loving your kids equally is a great risk…and you know the reason why…You just couldn’t show special and more affection to one and neglect the other otherwise the consequence is not good.
Today is also called a Good Shepherd Sunday. Seminarians in some parts of the world are at this time in the parishes, giving vocation talks and awareness, campaigning for vocations, encouraging people to pray for more vocations.
Yes, answering the call to the priesthood or religious life today is a great risk. This can entail leaving your circle of friends, sacrificing the things that you always love to do, doing the things that you don’t like to do. But this is also the same with the marriage. Both couple have to risk something just to get on alright. Just the same in all kinds of life we are living in. If we don’t risk, perhaps it’s worth checking if we are really and truly human beings.
But do we just have to take a risk all the time? Yes, but Jesus shows us the example to follow according to St Peter today in the Second Reading. Risking is not bad at all if we only allow Jesus to be with us, to walk with us. True, it’s a risk to listen to the call of Jesus today, because there are more attractive, appealing and persuasive calls that the world is calling us into. But then again, the words of Jesus in the gospel echoes more loudly, that “All others who have come are thieves and brigands…The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.”
SO as we continue our journey of Easter, let us keep in mind that Jesus is our life, our way, our resurrection (Easter Sunday), our Divine Mercy (2nd Sunday), our Lord and Saviour (3rd Sunday), and our Good Shepherd (4th Sunday).
Let’s pray therefore, that in whatever vocations we are answering into now, let’s put our risk at rest in the company of Jesus. And please pray for more vocations, to married life, to the priesthood and religious life. And that we’ll become not only a SHEPHERD but really a GOOD one…Amen…