(Good Shepherd/Vocation Sunday)
Scripture Reading: John 10:1-10
Last Sunday we reflected on how Jesus journeyed with the two disciples to Emmaus sharing the Word and broke the Eucharistic bread in order to bring them back to Jerusalem. Today the Gospel reading calls us to reflect on how we are responding to the Shepherd call and leading. On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, we encounter Jesus the Good Shepherd who knows His flock intimately. Today is also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday”, set aside for Praying for Vocations in the Church.
There is no better image to illustrate the intimate nature of our relationship with God than the image of shepherding. When the image of the sheep is applied to us it signifies dependence, that we are weak and in need of help. It may not occur to us that the sheep are the dumbest of all animals. They go to the gullies, become entangled in brambles, fall into ditches and wander into predators’ territory. It is because they do not know any better, they could hardly see. No domesticated animal is as defenseless. It can be beaten black and blue, bloodied without giving a fight or signs of pleas for help. Hence we hear the expression “like a lamb led to the slaughter.” No groan, no sigh, only tears in its eyes when it is being slaughtered. This is how vulnerable the sheep is without a shepherd to guide him to the grazing lands and protect him from the predators. For us to admit that we are sheep is to put our trust completely, unreservedly in Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Fr. Thomas Rosica said “This ideal image of the shepherd finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. He is the “Good Shepherd” who goes in search of the lost sheep; he feels compassion for the people because he sees them “as sheep without a shepherd” [Matthew 9:36]; he calls his disciples “the little flock” [Luke 12:32]. Peter calls Jesus “the shepherd of our souls” [1 Peter 2:25] and the Letter to the Hebrews speaks of Him as “the great shepherd of the sheep” [Heb. 13:20].The main characteristics and tasks of a shepherd is to take care of the sheep and to have command over his herd. The shepherd would bring the herd to the pasture land where there is plenty, the green and fresh grassland. The shepherd would lead the herd to the water (stream or source of water) to quench their thirst and for refreshment. The shepherd nurtures. The shepherd is likened to a pastor. The shepherd watches over them and protects them from wolves and other wild animals in the wilderness. The shepherd would fight for his sheep even in the face of harm and danger. Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd has all these qualities. Little wonder why He offered His life that man may be saved and enter into eternal life with the Father. Dear friends, we cannot enjoy the care of Jesus the Good Shepherd if we refuse to follow Him. The Good Shepherd leads us in the right path, but how many of us are ready to follow Him?
MASS: WHITE Acts 2:14a. 36-41; Ps 23:1-3a. 3b-4.5.6 (R.1); 1 Pet 2:20b-25; Accl. Jn 10:14; Jn 10:1-10 GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
1. Take a worship song to praise the Lord.
2. Ask God for mercy for the times you failed to follow the leading of the Jesus
3. Watch over us and protect us from all harm and danger; and be our nurture and nourishment in the refreshing water and grassland of assurance. May we become faithful, truthful and loving sheep as we strive to be good sheep of the Good Shepherd, we ask this in the name of Jesus Christ.
4. Watchful Shepherd, who protects the flock and searches tirelessly for those who wander from the fold, retrieve the lost and bring them home, tend and heal their wounds, help us to hear your voice and follow your call in the name of Jesus.
5. O Lord our Shepherd, You care for Your flock across every desert and through every dark place. Through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, seek out and restore all those who have lost their way, that we all may come together into the glory of Your Kingdom in the name of Jesus
Exercise: Take the Prayer for vocation by St. John Paul II
Meditation: John 10:27