APRIL 17, 2016 â€“ FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Cycle C) â€“ â€œGood Shepherd Sundayâ€
READINGS:Â Â Acts of the Apostles 13: 14. 43-52Â Â /Â Â Psalm 100: 1-2. 3. 5Â Â /Â Â Revelation 7: 9. 14b-17
JOHN 10: 27-30
HIS WORDâ€¦ MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE; I KNOW THEM, AND THEY FOLLOW MEâ€¦ I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE, AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISHâ€¦ THE FATHER AND I ARE ONEâ€¦
my wordsâ€¦Every Fourth Sunday of Easter is appropriated as the â€œGood Shepherd Sundayâ€, and the gospel episodes for the three cycles are all taken from the gospel of St. John chapter 10: 1-30â€¦ and they are divided as follows: Verses 1 to 10 for Cycle A, verses 11 to 18 for Cycle B, and verses 27 to 30 for Cycle C. So todayâ€™s gospel is the shortest amongthe Good Shepherd episodes in the gospel of St. John Chapter 10. This Sunday is also celebrated as the â€œWorld Day of Prayer for Vocations.â€So let us PRAY for more vocations to respond to the call of the Chief Good Shepherd for the care of His Flock, the Church.
The major points of Johnâ€™s gospel are about the roles of the Good Shepherd, and we identify five roles or functions of a Good Shepherd; namely, to know, to lead, to feed, to protect, and to give his life for the sheep. Thus Jesus specifies the basic roles of a Good Shepherd as follows: 1) To know hissheep. In ancient times, a good shepherd diligently gave each sheep an individual name (just as in our days, we give names to our pet dogs). That is why he should know each sheep by name and the sheep can identify the voice of the shepherd (Jn 10:3). To hear a non-familiar voice is to make the sheep run away from an alien shepherd (Jn 10:5).Â Thus, there is a mutual, intimate knowing of the sheep and the shepherd (Jn 10:14). 2) To lead thesheep to greener pasture. Because of their â€œherdâ€ instinct, the sheep simply follows the shepherd wherever he goes. Thus, a good shepherd walks ahead of them and leads them out to a good and greener pasture (Jn 10:4). With the rod or cane on his hand, the good shepherd directs the sheep on the right and safe way. 3) To feed the sheep. At the pasture, the good shepherd feeds them with the finest food. The good shepherd even caresses the sheep while they are eating and constantly looks after them carefully.Â 4) To protect the sheep fromenemies. The flock is usually susceptible to attacks of wild animals and is usually scattered by them. The good shepherd protects them day and night. He even acts as the gate of the sheepfold (Jn 10:9). He does not run away when the attackers are coming. And 5) To lay down his life for the sheep. The good shepherd is always willing to give his life for the sheep 24/7 especially in times of dangers of the lives of the sheep (Jn 10:11.15). His whole life is at stake for the whole flock entrusted to him.
Brothers and Sisters, this is PASTORAL RESPONSIBILITY. This is the role of Jesus to His people, His flock. He knows them by name, He leads them to the right path of life, He feeds the flock with His own Word, and with Hisown Body and Blood, He protects the flock from the snares of the devils and the dangers of faith, and He did lay His life for the whole flock. And these PASTORAL RESPONSIBILITIES are passed on by Jesus to Peter, to the Apostles, to the leaders of the early Church; and in our times, to the Pope, to the Cardinals, to the archbishops and bishops, to the parish priests, and to the deacons. The call of the religious men and women of today is to become â€œPastor Bonusâ€ or Good Shepherd(s) to the flock entrusted to them.
Brothers and Sisters, in todayâ€™s Masses, let us pray for more vocations that they may become good shepherds of Godâ€™s flocks throughout the whole wide world. Let us also pray in a special way for all our Bishops,Parish Priests, and all priests that they may become for us our Good Shepherds.
And so fortoday, let us greet our Bishops and Priests: HAPPY GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY…
ByÂ Fr. Julius C. Lupot