First Reading: Acts 4:8-12; Psalm: 118. R. v. 22; Second Reading: 1Jn 3:1-2; Gospel: Jn 10:11-18



Jesus the Good Shepherd leads his sheep in John 10 | Psephizo

Sam is the only child of his father. On this day at school, his teacher asked his class to pen down five things they like about their parents. All five things that Sam penned down were about his father. Out of curiosity his teacher inquired from him privately to understand why he acted so. “Don’t you like your Mom?” his teacher asked. Sam replied; “You asked five things we like about our parents. She’s just a mother; not a parent. Parents are not missing in action when the going gets tough. Parents don’t hang their family out to dry.” Sam’s Mom left the family when her husband lost his job and couldn’t afford to provide for the family adequately.  

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Who is a good shepherd? We can find the answer in our gospel reading of today. Jesus said; “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep.”

From these words of Jesus we can deduce that a good shepherd is different from a hireling; and that what differentiate them are their varied reactions to the challenges that interrupt their duties. Jesus likened these challenges to a wolf. A wolf therefore are the sudden or unexpected interruptors or challenges that test our dedication and fidelity to the vocation we are called to embrace. This wolf can be threatening and frightening. And it leaves us with a choice. It is either we face it courageously or out of cowardice flee from it. But a good shepherd does not flee from the wolf because he knows that his courage to face the wolf is the strength of those he is called to serve.

Jesus loved us as his own that when his passion stood before him as a means to prove his love for us; he did not budge or flee. Jesus accepted his passion and conquered sin and death giving us the strength of new life. Truly, Christ is the Good Shepherd that lays down his life for his sheep (Jn 10:11). A good shepherd puts his life on the line for his sheep. This kind of courage strengthens the sheep to replicate the same courage in their call to serve.

Every Good Shepherd Sunday, the church invites us to pray for the increase in vocation to the priesthood and religious life. Coupled with this invitation is also the call to pray that God should raise up for us good Christian parents that are ready to withstand and courageously fight the wolves that threaten the unity of marriage and the bond of family. Parents should picture themselves as shepherds called to pasture a sheepfold, a symbolic expression of the gift of family and children. Parents must understand that whatever choice they make regarding their marital challenges will either make or break the family.

When parents begin to raise a family, wolves will definitely attack to bring disarray. These wolves can come in the form of infidelity, lies, betrayal of trust, loss of job, poverty, hunger, childlessness, sickness or death. When these wolves attack, only good parents face them with tenacity and courage. Sometimes, the choices we make as parents in times like this should not be selfish but altruistic; for parents live not for themselves only but also for their children. After all, the identity of parenthood is derived from the gift of family.  

If you are a parent; today, Jesus calls you to be a good shepherd to your family. To be a parent and not just a father or mother. To keep your family one with God through prayer, unconditional love, strength of character and moral discipline. To stick out your neck for your children and to courageously make choices that will keep your family together and ward off the attacks of wolves that threaten the unity of marriage and the bond of family.

If you are unmarried, Jesus also calls you to beware of the wolves that break the bond of true friendship and love. The wolves of envy, jealousy, betrayal, aspersion, hatred and anger. Each of us should be wary of the attack of these wolves that sometimes come in a stealth but destructive way. A good shepherd does not succumb to them; only a hireling does.

Also, pray for us priests and religious on this day and always; that we may understand and be conscious that our dedication and courage to remain faithful amidst the challenges of our religious vocations contributes to the strength of faith of the Christian people. Also, pray that the Lord of the harvest may send more labourers into his harvest; for the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few (Mt 9:37-38).

For us priests and religious; today could be the day to evaluate our commitment to standing against the wolves that threaten the unity of the Christian people. What can we say about our commitment in propagating the orthodox doctrines of the church as against the mainstream doctrines plaguing our faith? To what length have we gone in combating the wolves of immorality, unhealthy competition, elitism, popularity, and crave for wealth? If we have failed in this regard, then we are nothing short of a hireling that cares nothing for the sheep. And Christ does not need a hireling in his church but a good shepherd.

Let us today pray for the strength and courage of the apostles to be good shepherds who are ready to witness to Christ in all areas of life. Not frightened by the criticisms and persecutions of the powers that be; but strengthened by the courageous example of our master Jesus Christ who laid down his life for his sheep.   


Christ the Good Shepherd, give us the strength and courage to stand against the wolves that threaten the unity of family and the Church. Amen.

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