"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."
Ever since the days when the early christians painted the picture of Christ as the Good Shepherd tending his sheep, on the walls of the catacombs in Rome, the image of Good Shepherd has been a favorite in christian circles. Generations of Christ's followers have been comforted and consoled by the picture of Christ the Good Shepherd anxiously seeking out the lost sheep and carrying it home on his shoulder. The image provides inspiration as it expresses the type of care, compassion and guidance which Christ offers to all of us. It gives us a permanent assurance that each one of us is loved as if we were the only one. Jesus is telling us that he knows us individually and thinks so much of us that he cannot let us out of his sight. The fact that we have a special place in his heart should instill hope in us and increase our confidence. Even when sin causes us to wander and stray, the Good Shepherd is there to come to our rescue. He brings us to back carrying us shoulder high into the safety and companionship of the fold.
As we dwell on the closeness of the love and care God has for us in treating us as his adopted children, we can well ask ourselves how we are responding to this new and intimate relationship. Is it evident by word and example from our behavior that Christ is the cornerstone of our life or have we kept him at a safe distance? The word of God always challenges us to declare our stance. Drawing close to Jesus demands truly Christ-like behavior. In accepting us as his adopted children God is calling us to live the life Jesus, which means that we in our turn have to be loving and caring and draw close to those we meet. Sometimes we deceive ourselves by keeping people at arm's length with obligations to nobody.
Today we are invited to examine how great and caring our love for our friends is. The task of every baptized person is to bring to the attention of the community the love that the the Father has for us by letting us be called God's children. Caring for one another is shown by discreet acts of kindness, like writing a letter of sympathy, making a phone call, giving an understanding look or an unexpected gift-all of which say, 'I am with you always.' Caring as a good shepherd is a hidden source of sensitive communication. It offers hope to a friend, to continue on the road of life with a tiny flame of confidence in his heart. Our invitation through baptism is to have hands to help others, feet to hasten to the poor and needy, eyes to see misery and want and ears to hear the sighs of our friends in sorrow. In every age Jesus is calling men and women to care diligently for the intimate needs of their brothers and sisters. This is what being a Good Shepherd really means.
from HOMILIES AND PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL
by DESMOND KNOWLES
NOTICE: Please be informed that Sunday Gospel Reflections provided by this site will be discontinued starting May 1, 2012. For this will be replaced by YOUTUBE HOMILIES - AN BINHI HOMILIES (See Home Page). Thank you for reading. - Paulines.ph