Christ Our Good Shepherd Never Fails
Readings: 1st: Acts 13, 14. 43-52; Ps: 99, 1-3. 5; 2nd: Rev 7, 9. 14-17; Gos: Jn 10, 27-30
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
On this fourth Sunday of Easter, we celebrate the feast of Christ, our good shepherd who willingly laid down his life for his flock. We celebrate our shepherd because he loves and cares for us in all circumstances. He is willing to lead all who follow and obey him to the spring of eternal life.
Today’s first reading narrates how the apostles continued to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Today, one significant point is that they have moved a step further by bringing the good news to the gentiles who accepted it with joyful hearts. This shows that Christ came for the salvation of all his flock. As the good shepherd of all nations, He offers us salvation and protection through the good news. This is because it is his wish that all be saved.
Although he came to the Jews first, it was also his plan to save all nations. Unfortunately, due to ignorance, pride, and stubbornness, the Jews rejected him. However, this became a blessing for the gentiles who are now God’s elect. Like the Jews of Christ’s time, is there any way we reject the good news today? “Any form of stubbornness or resistance against the good news we hear every day is a sign of rejecting Christ as the Jews did. Also, one could reject Christ through lack of faith or even by not recognizing him in others.
In our second reading, through the vision of John, God assures us that Christ, our Good Shepherd is willing to welcome and save all his children. Hence, John tells us: “I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe, and language; they were standing in front of the throne and front of the Lamb.”
Through his son Jesus Christ, God is ready to lead us to the spring of eternal salvation. His mercy, love, and salvation do not discriminate, and his kingdom is open to all his flock. This is especially to all who humbly and cheerfully embrace him. God’s salvation is like a free-flowing spring. However, only those who are faithful to him and have cleansed themselves in the blood of the lamb could draw life from this spring of life.
Today’s gospel is precise. However, it bears a compelling message for all of us who, according to the psalmist, “ Are the sheep of God’s flock.” Naturally, we know that rights go with duties. So, this reading notifies us of our commitment as Christ’s flock: “The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice, and they follow me.” On the other hand, it also specifies the responsibility of Christ, the good shepherd, towards us: “I give them eternal life, they will not be lost under my protection, and no one will ever steal them from me.” Hence, if we heed the voice of Christ, we are assured of his love, care, and protection. Christ, our good shepherd never fails.
So, as the sheep of God’s flock, let us heed the daily call of Christ, our good shepherd who says: “Behold I stand at the door of your heart and knock. If you open the door, I will come in” (Rev 3:20). Yes, Jesus, the good shepherd of all nations, stands there patiently knocking. He wants to lead us to the stream of eternal life. So, let us not walk away from Him. The psalmist advises us thus: “Oh that today you will listen to his voice, harden not your hearts” (Ps 95:8). May the Almighty God grant us the wisdom and grace to continue to respond obediently to Christ, our Good Shepherd.
Peace be with you.