This Sunday as we pay tribute to the loving, the caring, the enduring mothers that God has gifted us with, we celebrate the fourth Sunday of Easter which is also called the Good Shepherd Sunday. In the three lectionary cycles, the Gospel is always taken from the tenth chapter of St. John’s Gospel. If we recall, this chapter follows Jesus’ healing of the man born blind and the Jewish leaders questioning the authority of Jesus to heal. So Jesus responds to this challenge to His authority by calling Himself the Good Shepherd:
“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (Jn. 10: 27-30)
The imagery of a shepherd is a clear representation of Jesus’ desire to impress on us how He takes care of His flock. The sheep is one of the most fragile of animals and needs gentle caring. While at it, the shepherd looks at the safety and welfare of the flock. He will check on the grassland to ensure there are no poisonous plants and allow the sheep to graze while also on the lookout for other animals that may threaten the flock. Thus, Jesus emphasizes that the Good Shepherd’s intent is driven by love, care and authenticity. There’s no selfish motive, no hidden agenda, just the pure desire to ensure that the sheep is safe and secure. This is the same love that a mother, sibling, or friend offers us. This love is deep and when we have this support in our lives, we are really assured and comforted.
In times of difficulties and struggle, let us remember Jesus commitment as the Good Shepherd. He will
“…shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Rev. 7: 9, 14b-17)
What comforting words indeed!
Similarly, it is also our commitment to inspire people entrusted to us by God. As leaders in our families, communities and organizations, we have that duty to reflect the love of the Good Shepherd to others in our care.
He also tells us that He and the Father are one, thus, to know Jesus is to know the Father. By this, what He meant is that when we are intimate with Jesus, we are actually directly in contact with the Father.
Let us pray then that we remain faithful shepherds just like Jesus, our model, our Good Shepherd. May we realize how beautiful it is to share intimacy with God. May we remain faithful to Jesus all the days of our lives, just as He is faithful to the Father.
“I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.” (Jn. 10: 14)