Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter

Mothers, Shepherds

Along with Mothers Day thoughts, the upcoming election is also in everyone’s mind. In the case of Mothers, we happily celebrate the love of nurturing women and such other people in families, especially with young ones. In the case of the election, the integrity of the politicians are questioned or affirmed.  Integrity and a vision for the future is essential for those who aspire to govern a nation. When you put the loving care of the mothers and the integrity of the visionary leaders together, you become a shepherd or a pastor.  Jesus is our ultimate pastor who does not want anyone entrusted to him to be lost.

John who said “God is love”, presents Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  Jesus is like an ideal mother who sacrifices her comforts and achievements for the sake of her beloved children.  No mother would like to lose any of her babies.  If it happened, the heartache would be unbearable.  Though babies are independent persons, they are intimately part of the life their mothers.  Such is the kind of bonding Jesus is seeking from his disciples.  When we celebrate the Holy Communion we are celebrating an intimate relationship with Christ, our Shepherd.  It is very comforting that we can come to Jesus with our worries and concerns as well as our joys, just as we do in a loving family.  We consider priests and bishops as shepherds standing in for Christ the Shepherd.  They are deemed good or otherwise depending on their pastoral relationship with their folk.  An ideal pastor would lose none of his own.

But the intimacy with Christ the Good Shepherd and the caring love of a shepherd is to start in families.  If the members of a family go their own individual ways, and worried only about their own personal space and convenience, gathering of such families in a parish will not be a true pastoral experience.  We need mothers and fathers to be shepherds of their families, leading them to Jesus the Good Shepherd.  We need parents who can confidently say that none of the lives entrusted to them by God is lost to individualism.  So many families are fragmented because of the conflict between individual interests of the members.  It is important for families to gather as one folk in the name of Christ the Shepherd.  Family dinners where cares and worries are shared should be a regular feature.  Family praying together is the strongest expression of acknowledging Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd.  A parish full of families with good shepherds is what we need now. Then the whole parish and the Church at large will experience a greater spiritual nourishment. Such a strengthening also helps no one to be lost from the Communion with Christ. Today we thank God for the many good shepherds in the families, especially the mother who play this role in an extraordinary way.