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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday of Easter Year B (April 26 2015)

Reflection/Homily: Fourth (4th) Sunday of Easter Year B (April 26 2015)
               Theme: “I am the Good Shepherd”

Today is a special Sunday in Eastertide traditionally called “the Good Shepherd Sunday”. In today’s liturgy, we reflect on and learn from Christ who is the Good Shepherd. In the Old Testament, we discover that most often God chose His instruments among shepherds. This was perhaps because of the special qualities they possessed. In the New Testament, Jesus amidst other professions, decided to identify himself as a shepherd. A shepherd is humble, kind and dedicated to the duty of taking care of his flock. He knows his sheep and they know him because they listen to his voice. He is ready to lay down his life for his sheep. He is a good leader who is patient and kind. In the gospel reading (John 10:11-18), Jesus describes himself with these qualities not just as a shepherd but as the Good Shepherd; a model for all shepherds. Therefore today, we shall reflect on Christ as the Good Shepherd, the shepherding ministry of the Church and the unity of Christians.

Christ the Good Shepherd: Christ is the Good Shepherd that laid down his life for us his flock. His life was not lost at death but was used to transform our spiritual death into life and today through him we receive every spiritual and physical blessing. That is why in the first reading (Acts 4:8-12), we see Peter explaining to the Jews how Jesus gave up his life for his flock, died and was raised up and in his name, many miracles are done especially the healing of the crippled man. As our shepherd, Christ still directs us and takes us to greener pasture. The psalmist in psalm 23 brings to light, what Jesus does for us as our shepherd and this should provoke a sense of faith in Jesus who knows our needs and is ever ready to satisfy them. Therefore, no matter the situation you are passing through, do not lose hope, your shepherd is at the corner. He will surely see your through.

The Shepherding Ministry of the Church: Christ did not end as the Good Shepherd, rather he handed over his ministry of shepherding to his Church with St. Peter as the first chief shepherd. As Christians and Catholics in particular, we are expected to respect Christ in the constituted authorities of the Church. Christ is still present shepherding us in and through their ministry. For this reason, we also regard today as Vocation Sunday. It is our responsibility to pray for and support good vocations to the hierarchy of the Church. We should respect them and never fight to pull them down. We should also understand them as humans. The hierarchy (Deacons, Priests and Bishops) should also remember that the ministry is not their own but the Lord’s and that they are privileged for the sake of the gospel. They should therefore live out the gospel and practice the virtues of Christ as the Good Shepherd. They are not to be dictators but are to lead the flock to the Chief Shepherd.

The Unity of Christians: In the gospel reading, Jesus prayed that there be only one flock and one shepherd. As Christians, we can make this prayer materialize by fostering the unity of Christians. All of us should be united under one head and this could be done by having a unity of mind and purpose. The second reading (1 John 3:1-2) asks us to think of the love God has lavished on us by letting us be called His children. As children of God, there should be no dichotomy among us and we ought to live our lives in such a way that will guarantee us to see God as He really is on the last day and so be like Him. Therefore beloved brethren, the ball is on our courts. This Sunday may we ask God for the grace to follow Christ our Shepherd with perseverance and hope, contribute positively to the pastoral ministry of the Church and foster Christian unity. As we do this, may the blessings of God never elude us this new week and forever. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

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