Homily (Reflection) for Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter (8th May, 2017) on the Gospel
Ps 42:2-3. 43:3.4 (R. 42:3);
Topic: Shepherds and Hired Labourers.
In the Jewish culture, the word shepherd does not simply designate one who takes care of the ‘sheep’. It also and most importantly designates any person in leadership position. Functions of a shepherd include feeding the flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, carrying them in his bosom, and gently leading those that are with young, cf. Is 40:11.
The absence of a shepherd and/or the presence of a bad one spells doom for the sheep, cf. Zech 10:2. Hence, in the prophet Ezekiel we read, “...they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the wild beasts” (Ezek 34:5).
And in today’s gospel, Jesus tells us: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11). However, “The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away – and the wolf snatches them” (Jn 10:12).
God has assigned to each and every person respective functions, 1Cor 12:4-11. We ought to do everything to His glory, cf. 1Cor 10:31. All must be careful to be at the duty post. God threatens, “Woe to my worthless shepherd, who deserts the flock! May the sword smite his arm and his right eye! Let his arm be wholly withered, his right eye utterly blinded!” (Zech 11:17). Again,
...because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep; therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord, I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand...” (Ezek 34:8-10).
Bible Reading: Ezek 34:1-31; Zech 11:4-17.
Thought for today: Be the shepherd of the sheep entrusted to you.
Let us pray: Good shepherd, give us the grace to follow your example in shepherding the sheep under us to the point of laying our lives for them – Amen.
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