The Good Shepherd

Sunday readings in brief 4 Easter Year A

Acts 2:14,36-41; Psalm 22(23); 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10

The Good Shepherd

Dear friends, today is the fourth Sunday of Easter in the liturgical Cycle year A. In the Gospel reading, Jesus presents himself as the Good Shepherd and enumerates the most important qualities of a good shepherd. It is for this reason that on this Sunday the Church Celebrates Christian vocations. “Vocation” is derived from the Latin word “Vocatio” which means to call someone to lead a particular way of life. The most common vocations in the Christian way of life are Married life and Celibate Religious life. A vocation is different from a profession or a career. One can opt for different careers while vocations tend to be mutually exclusive. When vocations are mixed, it is difficult to escape conflict of interests.

Those who feel inclined to either of the vocations require sincere discernment, thorough training, and mature commitment in order to lead a fruit way of life and become shepherds to others. Children learn from adults and many of them get attracted to what they observe and encounter. Proper upbringing is done through good examples. Parents must learn and strive to demonstrate to their children the joy of being married. Religious celibate persons must too learn and strive to be good models for the young ones.

Unfortunately, our society today is lacking good examples for young people to emulate. One day a young mother went to pick up her little daughter from school very drunk. On their way back, the mother was hauling unspeakable insults to someone on the phone, and due to careless driving, she caused a minor accident. They were both taken to the police station and the mother was detained for hours. When the alcohol had dissipated, they were allowed to go home after paying a heavy fine. When they reached home, the little girl told her mother, “Mom, I don’t want to be an adult”.

Today Jesus presents to us the qualities of a good shepherd. Unlike our traditional shepherds who go behind the flock beating and pushing them out of the stay into the fields, the good shepherd calls the sheep by their names and leads them from the front making way for them as he searches for good pastures. Both parents and religious leaders are supposed to teach by example. It is extremely difficult for someone to convince others to behave in a certain manner while he or she behaves otherwise.

The disciples of Jesus led by Peter were able to lead many listeners to conversion because all could see in them what they were preaching. Jesus was conspicuously present in their mission. Their very presence was attracting people to come close and listen. Today, instead of attracting, preachers use all crooked means to lure, coax or force people to follow them for profit. The cultic models of faith and worship we are witnessing today are enough evidence. Instead of using proper induction into true Christian culture and values, in order to attain meaningful living here on earth and hope for eternal life, cults have become sort of shortcuts to quick wealth, fame, political powers, and including eternal life. In the name of Jesus, we have many false prophets misleading ignorant members of society.

Dear friends, even with so many incidences people seem not to learn. Matters of faith are not to be taken for granted at all because they speak to the soul. Those entrusted with instruction of the souls must be thoroughly vetted before they are allowed to go out there. Instead of conviction based on a factual presentation of religious tenets, many unlawful faith ‘outlets’ go the radicalization way as a shortcut to get quick returns in terms of contributions from their followers. The commercialization of faith and advertisement of miracles is the new age booming business. The thin membrane left between secular and religious life has also broken with the digitalization of faith.

I invite each one of us today to think about the status quo and see if there is something you and I can do, however little it may, be to salvage whatever we can before the world around us break apart.

Have a blessed Sunday

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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