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 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. 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 intimately and down his life for us. We may find this language of sheep , 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 says “I am the good shepherd. The Good Shepherd seems to be calling to His sheep to follow Him into the unfamiliar pastures. 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 leading us on to fresh and green pastures. And what will Jesus be saying to us his followers to you and me he 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. Jesus the Good Shepherd seems to be calling always to His sheep to follow Him into the unfamiliar, the pastures, yonder, over there. And 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. Many in our world are now fascinated by another voice, that of Pope Francis, who urges us to bring the power of our love and concern to the poor, the persecuted, and the powerless of this world to bear on the world. When we hear his voice, we recognize the authentic voice of Jesus Himself. May we heed his voice especially in the months and years ahead he acts in persona Christi our good shepherd.
Finally on this day we remember all those who were affected by the horrendous events of the past week in Boston, we pray for them that Jesus the Good Shepherd will give them the strength to continue their lives in the love god. We also pray in a particular way that those who have died will rest in the peace of the kingdom of God.
“The Good Shepherd is risen!He who laid down his life for his sheep,Jesus The Good Shepherd who died for his flock, he is risen, alleluia.”