Bible Text: “I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”. (John 10.11-16)
Jesus had well defined what the Good Shepherd is all about. The daily routine the good shepherd is not only to bring the sheep to the green pastures and clear running streams and to lead them back and forth to the sheep pen but he must be prepared to protect his sheep at the expense of his dear life. In the fields, wild and ferocious animals are always lurking to snatch the sheep from the hands of the shepherd. Jesus Christ is indeed the Good Shepherd. His life is a perfect icon of the Good shepherd. He has offered his life for us to protect us from Satan whose aim is to separate us from God. He died on the cross to show how much He has loved us. God truly believes that it is only fervent love can keep us remain in the home of the Father.
Parents are called to be good shepherd to their children. The sense of sacrifice is deeply imbedded to their nature the moment they decided to raise their own family. They do not think so much about what will make them happy but they are focused and grounded to give their very best to their children. They see to it that their house is really a home wherein children can feel and experience the warmth of their love. The happiness of parents is to make sure that their beloved children are safe and happy at all times in their presence. These things will never be accomplished without sacrifice. Priests too are sent to the parishes as extensions of Jesus Christ being the Good Shepherd. People might never notice how a priest lives a life of total dedication and commitment to the people. In my life as a priest, all I wanted is to feed the faithful with the word of God. Before I close my eyes at night I am already thinking about the homily that I will deliver to the people. I am more preoccupied with what I will preach rather than what I eat the following morning. I wanted to cook the word of God the best I could so that it will be appetizing to the listeners. The priest is also available 24/7 to his parishioners. If somebody calls him at the middle of the night granted that it is a matter of life and death, I must go because that is the pledge of my priesthood.
Today as we celebrate the feast of Francois de Laval, the Patron Saint of Canadian Bishop, through the example of his zealous life may inspire every priest in their chosen vocation. May he intercede for parents and priests to shape their lives after the Good Shepherd. It is through our lives that our children will have a concrete grasp of Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd.