The Risen Christ is Our Good Shepherd and Model
Readings: 1st: Acts 4-8 Ps 117, 8-23; 2nd: 1Jn 1 Jn 3, 1-2; Gos Jh 10, 11-18
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter, the church celebrates Christ, the Good Shepherd. He accepted suffering and death in order to save his flock. Christ the good shepherd is our role model of love and care. If we obediently continue to listen to him, and to follow him, he will lead us safely to our destination in heaven.
In our first reading, Peter testified through his miracle and testimony that Jesus is actually the good shepherd who cares for his flock. It is His wish to heal us. So as his flock, he is with us at all time. He watches over us and guides through the paths of life. He cares of us. Whenever we call upon Christ our good shepherd in faith, he hears and answer us according to the purpose of his will.
The Apostles were very much aware of the divine and protective presence of Christ the good shepherd. So, whenever they were in need they turned to him for help. Peters testifies to this: “It was by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…This is the only one by which we can be saved.” There is power, salvation, healing in the name of the risen Christ, our Good Shepherd. He walks with us and care for us daily.
Our seconding reading presents us with one very important attribute of Christ the Good Shepherd. That is, love. John reminds us of this: “Behold the great love that the father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.” The only love comparable to the love of the good shepherd is the love of a mother for her baby (Is 49:15). Christ demonstrated this love for us by offering his life as a sacrifice and ransom for our salvation. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13). So, we must emulate Christ as our model of love and care.
In today’s gospel from John, Jesus tells us: “I am a good shepherd: the good shepherd is the one who lays down his life for his sheep… I know my own, and my own knows me…they listen to my voice…” From this we learn two important lessons. The first is, the role and characteristics of a good shepherd. The second is the duty and response of the flock.
The good shepherd knows and takes care of his flock. He is patient, he loves and never harms his own flock or sheep. A good shepherd is readily available for his flock. He is ready to make sacrifices for their good. On the other hand, a good flock listens to its shepherd. It obeys his instructions and follows him with trust and confidence. In other words, there must be a good relationship and understanding between a good shepherd and his flock.
The celebration of Christ the Good Shepherd today reminds us that we are shepherds, as well as flocks. This is because each one of us is occupying one leadership position or the other. So, who is a good shepherd and where can we find one?
We find one, in every good mother or father, in an honest president or governor, in a holy and caring priest. We can find a good Shepherd in every humble and God-fearing youth, in a caring brother or sister, and in every just and respectful police officer. Where there is a caring doctor, a dedicated teacher, a good cook, cleaner or gardener, there is a good shepherd.
Finally, today the church provides us another good opportunity to pray for the Holy Father, all the leaders of the church, families and the world. With our hope and confidence strongly placed in the risen Christ let pray: “The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want” (Ps 23). Alleluia, Alleluia.
Peace be with you!