4th Sunday of Easter Good Shepherd Sunday
Today we gather on the fourth Sunday of Easter which is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday it is also the day when we pray that the Lord will send inspire people young and not so young to take up the vocation of service as priests or religious. One of the gentle images that we find applied to God in the Old Testament is that the Lord is the shepherd of his people: The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want is the first line of the hymn with the title the Lord’s my shepherd. We Christians apply this title to Christ the Lord. He is the good Shepherd who knows his sheep and lays down his life for them. That is to say that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and he knows us laid down his life for us. We may find this language of sheep and flocks and shepherds strange, but beneath the imagery the belief it points to is at the heart of our faith: a gentle God who is concerned about and caring for everyone. In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus say twice “I am the good shepherd The Good Shepherd seems to be calling always to His sheep to follow Him into the unfamiliar, the pastures, yonder, over there. Most of us, upon listening to our own recorded voices, wonder if that is really us! What we sound like to others is not the exact way we sound like to ourselves. People who are visually impaired learn quickly who is who by their footsteps, pace, noisiness as well as their voices. Jesus is telling us that He will keep calling in the same voice and when we begin to follow, He will keep speaking. And what will Jesus be saying to us his followers to us he simply says I am the Good shepherd follow me.
There will always be other voices, from within ourselves and from outside. How will we ever learn to recognize His voice as different from our self-cantered voices! A lot of people just want what they want not thinking about the true implications for themselves and the rest of those around them and this is why the calling of the Good Shepherd is so very different. That is what Jesus is calling us to on this day and every day to follow Him into the unfamiliar territory which will lead us along the roads of faith that will bring to the fullness of faith and life. We pray that the Lord will send us good shepherds into our lives who by their lives and example lead us along the highways and byways that lead us to faith, that is faith in God and in oneanother, the body of Christ the Church.