1.Acts 4:8-12
3.John 10:1-10

Christ the good shepherd
As we celebrate the fourth Sunday of Easter our main call to us from the readings is to meditate on our Lord Jesus Christ as the good shepherd. Jesus in illustrating his teaching he uses symbolic images of shepherds and sheep seeing himself as the good shepherd foretold by the prophets. This image is relevant to us today. The bond of love that unites us with Jesus is the same bond of love uniting Jesus and the Father. Our new existence is founded on God’s unbreakable love and faithfulness.
In order to enter eternal life we must break ourselves into pieces as Jesus broke himself into pieces for our salvation. Throughout the last week we have been hearing series of preaching of Jesus calling himself the ‘bread of life whoever comes to me will never go hungry and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty’ (John 6:35). Furthermore, we heard Jesus saying ‘whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him’ (John 6:56). In this context we are given an invitation that if we want to belong to the sheep fold of Christ we dare to live the very life of Christ, we have to tune our minds to his voice, in this perspective we are invited to be good listeners to the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Majority of Christians have found themselves victims of Pride, and self centeredness consequently they have found themselves deaf to the voice of Jesus. As we are advancing in science and technology we find that it is becoming dominated by materialism, and due to this fact some Christians are pressurized to abandon their Christian calling and thus become part and parcel of the global materialism. The Father is still calling us to follow him through His son Jesus Christ, He never abandon us.
The theme of the good shepherd invites to be active on our vocations we have been called to accomplish. All the baptized, particularly those who are confirmed are bound to spread the faith.Laity as well as priests and religious are all in the same service of the risen Lord. We are all called to be partakers in the work of evangelization. Good Shepherd Sunday invites us to pray for vocations in the Church of God. It is an agent call to each one of us in ensuring that vocations in our families, Small Christian communities, Parishes and in our dioceses are fostered.
The goodsherpherd Sunday invites us to create a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus. I was once reading a text and found an experience told of the people who go to Rome on pilgrimage on the course of their pilgrimage they include also a visit to the catacombs( the earliest Christian cemeteries in existence), the earliest Christian arts are well portrayed in catacombs. According to the experience of one of the pilgrims is about the image of Jesus portrayed in some of the catacombs, and that image is the image of the good shepherd that we also find in today’s gospel.
The shepherd image portrayed in catacombs by early Christian’s art tells us the personal nature between Jesus and his followers. It portrays the personal care that the shepherd has for his sheep. Jesus in today’s gospel tells us that he knows his sheep and they know him, this definitely tells us the close personal relationship that exist between Jesus and ourselves. The personal relationship that exists between Jesus and the Father should also be extended to our personal relationship with him and between ourselves.
Jesus in the gospel is telling us that he lays down his life for his sheep, metaphorically is telling us that he lays down for each one of us individually. In this context Jesus deals with each one of us individually. As Jesus laid his life for us all it is also the same invitation to lay down our lives for our fellow brothers and sisters who have not received the good news. Who are we to lay down our lives for the sake of Jesus? These are the people who have been displaced, the marginalized, the poor, the orphans, the widows, and the poor vulnerable of the society.
The Lord who knows each one of us individually also knows us and calls us by name. The Lord has calling that is unique to each one of us. He calls us in uniqueness with our unique identity, our fragilities and with our different historical background. Thus it won’t be a surprise as Christians to see ourselves being diverse in our thinking and our way to responding to our Christian vocation.
The diversity in the Church of God helps to understand that God calls each one of us in a unique way. As we celebrate the good shepherd Sunday we are called to make good use of our talents and gift for the Kingdom of God. Our vocations are unique so we need to make contributions in building the church of God in accordance with our unique vocations. The first reading is talking of Jesus as the corner stone that had been rejected by the builders, it is also an invitation to us that at times we may feel being rejected as Jesus was rejected, yet before God’s eyes we are still his children and we are not rejected. God is seeing us as key stones for some aspects of his work here on Earth. Thus each one of should see himself/herself as the one having a key role to pray in the church of God. Nobody is abandoned and has been left by God for not having a special work to do in His vineyard.

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Chapisha Maoni