Jesus the Good Shepherd

07-22-2018From Our PastorFather Prince Raja

The gospel narration is the continuation of that of last Sunday. So too is our reflection. Last Sunday, we heard how Jesus “summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs, giving them authority over unclean spirits” and “to proclaim repentance” (Mk 6: 7, 12). Today, we hear how “the apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught,” and he would take them to “a lonely place where they could be by themselves” (Mk 6:30-32).

The section of the gospel offers many practical insights that are relevant to the life and ministry of the church. I would summarize it in one word: “accountability”. In the First Reading of today Prophet Jeremiah has strong words for shepherds or the leaders who had been irresponsible and who let their flocks be scattered and destroyed. In the ancient world, kings often accepted the title shepherd and the subjects were sheep under their care.

In the Second Reading of today Paul reminds the Ephesian converts that Jesus brought unity of brotherhood between the Jews and the Gentiles to form them into one family.

The Holy Bible constantly reminds us of the loving unbroken care of God towards human persons. He created everything for man and woman and for their well-being. He sent his messengers constantly to look after his people. He is our Father, caretaker and protector. The image of God as the shepherd of his people has a long tradition in the history of God’s people. This image of the shepherd, which appears several times in the New Testament, shows us the care and concern of God in Jesus. We have the popular images of Jesus the Good Shepherd carrying a sheep over his shoulders or we have a smiling Jesus sitting under a tree, with a little lamb on his lap. This image of the shepherd appeals to us because it shows the tenderness of Jesus and his compassion. A shepherd generally walked ahead of the sheep seeking out a safe path taking them to the pastures, water and shelter. The sheep followed him, because they recognized his voice, and they trusted him.