Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

The Good Shepherd

Over the past two months, the outbreak of COVID-19 in India has exploded with over 312 thousand new infections, and reports of oxygen shortages coming out. In this time of dire need, the people are angry at many of the leaders because of their lack of care for the desperate. It is in times of need that you appreciate ‘shepherding’ of the leaders. Until they woke up to the fact that it was a matter of life and death, the debates of the political leaders were philosophical. “Jesus said: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep’”. When Jesus said this, he was not lecturing on theories. He was presenting himself as the real saviour in their real life. Yet Jesus had to challenge the people on their perception of the real need.

At the time of Jesus and at the time of early Church, the perceived needs by most people were the evil of Roman imperialism over Israel and persecution of Christians. But Jesus’ shepherding did not concern the political and social concerns of the people. More than anything else, the experience of the loving Father is what helps you live a fuller life. Therefore, Jesus interpreted Scriptures for them. He provided hope and joy to the sick by healing them. By giving life to the dead, he showed himself the Lord of life and death. He forgave sins. Those who accepted Jesus as the ‘Good Shepherd’ were privileged to have fullness of life, even when their physical bodies were tortured. The benefit of the care of the Good Shepherd can be yours only if you thirst for God and nothing else becomes your priority.

The fullness of life Jesus offers is a lot more than what a career and a healthy bank balance can provide. Jesus leads you through the ups and downs of life in such a way that even the sorrows and losses you experience will not dampen your sense of purpose and fulfilment in life. Our generation needs a lot of ‘shepherds’ to enlighten and encourage those who are oblivious to the real beauty of life. Therefore, deepen your experience of Jesus guiding your life. Then encourage those who are willing to be ‘shepherds’ in our time.