Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter has also been designated as “World Day of Prayer for Vocations” The Good Shepherd Sunday. The day we pray for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. The message of the Gospel reading is clear, the Good Shepherd, Jesus himself. He always leads us to the truth and to the right direction.
Jesus described himself as both the “sheep gate” and the “good Shepherd.” The reading gives us the parable of the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep. The Psalmist tells us today; “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want…” Jesus is the best of all shepherds, the Good shepherd, leading us to the truth and to the right direction. In him we find rest and eternal life. The good shepherd left the Ninety-nine sheep, and went after the only one that strayed, because he was out there by himself.
The good shepherd is the one who laid down his life for his sheep. Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. Jesus said; “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me. ” Do we really know him and follow him…? How often do we do his will…?
The shepherd’s image today is fitting, for indeed, “We are his people, the sheep of his flock.” Sheep finds their peace and security under the care of a shepherd who watches over them and provides for all their needs. He leads by example for them to follow.
Jesus said; “Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jesus is the only true way we can be successful in life. He is the door, the true access to eternal life and true happiness.
The more the enemy try to get you the more you need to be in prayer and in the service of the Lord, because we are not strong enough on our own to come against the enemy. The enemy wants to destroy and to kill; hence, the gospel of today; a thief comes only to steal, to slaughter and to destroy. But Jesus says; “I came so that you may have life and have it more abundantly.” In other words. Jesus is saying, I came so that you may live in peace and be happy. The promise of God to those who put their trust and hope in the Lord.
Let’s continue to be that good shepherd to our family, our community and to the world, and to lead God’s people to the way of the Lord.
God is good…all the time.
God bless you,
Fr. Daniel E. Ogbeifun