• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐
    圣福若瑟神父

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动
    圣杨生•爱诺德神父

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Friday, 05 May 2017 11:02

Good Shepherd Sunday

Written by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD

 

frelmer ibarra02 150Many years ago my professor in missiology went to the Holy Land to do some studies. In his course, he got invited to watch a contest between shepherds. In this contest, the shepherds are asked to bring 10 sheep each and they are placed in a big ring enclosure and all the sheep were mixed together. In that contest, there were three shepherds, so there were 30 sheep. The task was each shepherd should gather his sheep the fastest using only their voice. So each shepherd has their own unique calls that only their sheep would understand. Then at times my professor observed that some of the sheep would become confused because two shepherds had almost the same call. But the sheep would know and would go to the right shepherds. So after a few minutes, eventually there was a winner in gathering his sheep the fastest.

In the gospel for today, Jesus identified that his sheep would know his voice and follow him. Traditionally, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the gospel reading portrays Jesus as the Good Shepherd. However, through the millennia of the church, the image of Jesus, the Good Shepherd somehow softened. We often see Jesus watching his sheep and carrying a small lamb on his arms. With nice green rolling hills and almost beautiful snow-white sheep. However, if we go back during the time of Christ on what a shepherd looks like, most probably, the shepherd instead of flowing robes he would be wearing rugged clothes for ease of movement as he tries to keep track of all the sheep. Instead of just watching all his sheep while just sitting quietly, he must have been always on high alert from wolves and robbers who are out there ready to pounce on his sheep. And instead of nice snow-white sheep, he would have rather rough looking sheep. For during the time of Christ and most probably until today being a shepherd is hard labour. And with this image we can now see to what extent Jesus would put up with his sheep as the good shepherd.

Prakash ordination 350Also this week, we are all called to pray for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We are called to pray for more shepherds in the form of priests to guide the flock of Christ towards the kingdom of heaven. And also, we are asked to pray and support materially our seminaries and seminarians that are preparing to be shepherds of Christ.

The gospel for today has two components, first the promise of the shepherd, second, the response of the sheep. Jesus as the shepherd of the gospel will lead his sheep into eternal life and they will never perish. Jesus will protect his sheep as he is doing for all eternity. Jesus would never let any force of evil to come and snatch his sheep from him. Jesus would lead his sheep to greener pasture. And more importantly, Jesus would give his life for his sheep.

Now we go to the second component, the response of the sheep. How would we know who are the sheep of the Good Shepherd. The sheep of the good shepherd would hear the voice of the shepherd, we would be identified as sheep of Jesus as he knows us and lastly, the sheep would follow the shepherd.

To be identified as sheep of Jesus, we should be able to hear his voice. Sadly, we live in a world where there are many who are pretending to be shepherds. There are false shepherds who would want to lure us by offering us to be worldly, to be proud of what we have achieved, and to disregard the values of the Gospel. However, sadly, these shepherds only offer us temporary happiness and would lead us to a life of evil and being far from God.

To be able to resist this temptation, we should be able to know the voice of the Good Shepherd; we should know Jesus better through the Gospels and reading the Bible. And once, we have identified the voice of the Good Shepherd, we should also learn to follow him. And following Jesus is sometimes not easy for Jesus never offered an easy life but what he is offering is strength to be able to overcome the challenges of life.

So in conclusion, to be a sheep of Jesus, we should be able to identify his voice and follow him.

Last modified on Friday, 05 May 2017 11:39