Fourth Sunday of Easter
Revelation 7:9, 14B-17
Reflection Question: The image of Jesus as “Good Shepherd” guides us through this weekend’s liturgy. This powerful yet loving title of our Savior reveals the protection, care, compassion, and concern that Jesus has for each one of us. In our daily lives as followers of Jesus, how are each of us called to be both “sheep” and “shepherd?’ How might we practically live out those calls?
It seems that at many times throughout our lives, it is relatively easy for us to see ourselves as sheep – needing nurturing, a loving arm to pull us back on track, and a shepherd’s “crook” to nudge us in the proper and safest direction.
We come to Mass, read the scriptures, perform acts of charity and pray (just to name a few), as ways to keep focus on Jesus and His incredibly powerful teachings.
As “sheep,” we often find ourselves wondering ab out aimlessly through life because distractions from society beckon us to follow those things that are not in our best interest. Thus, we hope for (and even long for) a strong and loving shepherd to lead us on toward what will, some day, be our eternal home.
More challenging to recognize, because we all are “sheep,” is the fact that we are frequently invited to be “shepherds” to those around us. In countless family or professional roles, we strive to provide care as parents, godparents, teachers, ordained or lay ecclesial ministers, law enforcement officers, health care workers, and others, we take on responsibilities to make sure that the “sheep” that surround us are safe, secure, and properly directed.
As followers of Christ, we are called to echo the examples of Jesus and to plant seeds of hope, joy, mercy, love, respect, and faith among all we encounter. That is where things can, and often do become challenging.
As “sheep” we ourselves stray, but how are we to lead others as “shepherds?”
The answer to that question is a simple but daunting: With trust.
As we listen to the Gospel this weekend, we hear John’s words of Jesus “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.”
May we receive the abundant blessings of our God to HEAR the Shepherd’s voice and joyfully embrace the wisdom offered us by the Holy Spirit and TRUST that we can wholeheartedly, with integrity, accept our roles as “sheep” and “shepherds.” Together, we can impact our world in amazing ways! God bless!
Father William J. Lechnar, Pastor / Church of the Good Shepherd Parish / Kent