4th Sunday of Easter Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

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4th Sunday of Easter Year B by Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

First Reading: Acts 4:8-12
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 21, 29
Second Reading: First John 3:1-2
Gospel: John 10:11-18

Theme: Be Professional:- the Good Shepherd


In the past Sundays we have been reading about the story of the resurrection. And each evangelists recount the same story with some peculiarities and differences to suit their distinctive audience. From today the Gospel reading will move from the story of resurrection to the identity of the resurrected Christ. Today He describes Himself as a Good Shepherd.

Explanation of the text

Every profession conveys a certain image that doesn’t always apply to those who practice. A sales person will want to meet the needs of customers but not all of them do. The doctor will put his patient first but not all doctors do. A lawyer should be more concerned about his/her client but not all of them are. This means that in all profession there will always be some who will be unprofessional.

Today in our gospel reading Jesus ascribes to Himself the title of a Good Shepherd. Coming from a nomadic community the image of Shepherd would have made a very deep impression on his audience. A Shepherd should be someone who will do whatever must be done to protect and nurture his flock but not all of them do. Those who do not are called hirelings. They are not so much concerned about the sheep as the Shepherd. This is because the Shepherd often owned the sheep he is shepherding whereas the hirelings work for an absentee owner.

This image of the Good Shepherd offers us the opportunity to reflect on leadership which has become our bane in this part of the world. In all professions such as in the ministry we also find the shepherds and the hirelings. The hirelings are unfaithful and are only concerned about their earnings. This group is described in Isaiah 56:11 as greedy dogs who look for their own gains. Jeremiah (Jer 6:13) also chastised them as covetous and Paul in Philippians 2:20-21 sees them as selfish people who seek their own and not the things which are of Jesus Christ.

What kind of Shepherd are we? Are we truly shepherds or hirelings? We live in a world where people love certificate more than knowledge, marriage more than love. We are in an era where workers love their pay more than the work and so professionalism has now been thrown to dogs.

When Jesus says “I am the Good Shepherd”, He is claiming to be God because only God is good. He demonstrates this goodness by caring, praying, labouring and nurturing the sheep. These qualities of the Good Shepherd are corroborated by the author of our second reading when he talks about the love we have received and that has made us sons and daughters of God.

What then is at the heart of Shepherding is sacrifice. And so Jesus says a Good Shepherd is the one that lays his life for the sheep. To be a Shepherd is to be ready to sacrifice. Peter reiterates this same point when he addressed the people in our first reading. He stressed that “this is the stone which was rejected by you builders but now has become a cornerstone”.



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