Vol: 42, No.29 4TH SUNDAY EASTER ( B) April 26 2015  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE

“Where are the leaders?” is the often repeated question today. There is definitely a dearth of quality leaders in the socio-political-religious spheres of life who can make a positive difference to society and make it a better place to live in. Many societies, groups, organizations and even nations have fallen apart because of the inefficient leaders they had. Any leader who only works for his or her own well-being and prosperity will soon realize that his or her followers are dwindling in number and will soon be overthrown. No leadership survives long on selfishness, pride or lie. A leader should provide a vision to follow and be ready to commit him/herself to pursue that vision relentlessly and become models to his/her followers. Today, in our liturgy, we are presented the most genuine, committed and never compromising leader who is ever ready even to sacrifice his life for his followers. Jesus is our Shepherded who leads, protects and guides us to the safest pastures of life and in the process who will fight our enemies and defeat them. A Christian leader is a committed follower who lives and gives Jesus to the world. No Christian, whatever position he/she may be holding in his/her life, is a leader unless he/she completely adheres to the values, attitudes and teachings of Christ.
Our role is to ‘serve the God we know and know the God we serve’. Jesus claims that he knows his own sheep and they listen to his voice. He knows his followers personally but the question is whether the followers know him. Today we look for leaders who are highly decorated in the society, macho men and women who are attractive, socially who is who, celebrities and above all, the rich and the influential. The present generation is controlled by the media and so it does not have much time to listen to the real Shepherd. Listening and following the good Shepherd today is out of fashion and so there is a tendency to avoid the door and enter through some other way. Jesus is the door that protects and safeguards his followers and no enemy can touch or do any harm to them. Jesus the good Shepherd gives his own life to the sheep and he becomes their way that leads to life eternal.

 
Jesus knows his sheep. In fact, he knows us very personally and so it is no wonder why he is describing himself as the good Shepherd. Sheep need constant attention and care. A failure from the part of the shepherd to do so can be detrimental to the sheep. The character of the sheep is such that they can never be on the right track unless they listen and follow the shepherd. It is rather interesting to note some of the characteristics of the sheep. Sheep are perhaps the least intelligent of all the animals; they have no natural sense of direction, they do not seem to know which way to go in life, they are incapable of caring for themselves and they are weak. They can easily get weary and have no defensive moves when a predator tries to attack them. Jesus by referring to himself as the good Shepherd wants to teach us how weak and helpless we are and that he will do everything to save us. Like in the case of sheep, we his followers are so vulnerable and susceptible to many failures, wounds and temptations in our lives. Jesus becomes our strength who helps to overcome our weaknesses. He protects us from all dangers and provides healing for our sicknesses and wounds; he is faithful to us and guides us towards greener pastures and is ever watchful and always goes out to search and find those sheep who wander off.
Jesus our good Shepherd will never run away leaving us alone. He has told us that he will lay down his life for us. Unlike the hireling, who does not know the sheep, Jesus knows his sheep and has the power to protect them. Jesus serves the God whom he personally knows and he is missioned to save the lost and bring them back to the Father. Jesus is the good Shepherd. And because he is, he gives his life for his sheep. He is not selfish and does not put his own life ahead of the sheep. He does not count his own life dear to himself. He lays down his life for them and through this self-sacrificing act, he opens the doors of salvation to God’s people. Jesus our good Shepherd invites us today to listen to his voice and follow him. Let us pray that we may be enabled to hear Jesus telling us, “I am the Door. Whoever enters through me will be saved.”
– Fr Johnson Vattakkunnel, SSP
April -May 2015 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 4
27 Mon (W) Acts 11:1-18/ Ps 42:2-3; 43:3-4/ Jn 10:1-10
28 Tue (W) Sts Peter Chanel & Louis Mary de Montfort, Acts 11:19-26/ Ps 87:1-7/ Jn 10:22-30
29 Wed (W) St Catherine of Siena, Acts 12:24–13:5/ Ps 67:2-3,5,6,8/ Jn 12:44-50
30 Thu (W) Pius V, Acts 13:13-25/ Ps 89:2-3,21-22,25,27/ Jn 13:16-20
01 Fri (W) St Joseph the Worker, (Workers Day), Acts 13:26-33/ Ps 2:6-11/ Jn 14:1-6.
02 Sat (W) St Athanasius, Acts 13:44-52/ Ps 98:1-4/ Jn 14:7-14
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2015-04-27
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