HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (THE GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY). YR. A, BY REV FR EKESHIRI JUDE EMEKA CSSP.
THEME: JESUS; THE GOOD SHEPHERD (Acts 2:14,36-41, 1 Peter 2:20-25, John 10:1-10).
The organisation of the human society is strongly structured on the basis of role models. These models are such that; some people performs their roles as leaders and some as followers. Thus, the leaders serves as motivators and guide to those they lead. Very often the world leadership is very much corrupt and self centred because it cares less for the good of the people they lead. This is different from the kind of leadership proposed by Jesus.
What do we mean by the good shepherd? The good shepherd is one who is able to sacrifice everything, including his life for the well-being and safety of his sheep. Jesus is the good shepherd, one who is ready to lay down His life for His sheep, because the sheep that belongs to Him listens to His voice. He knows them and they also follow Him.
In the first reading, Peter who betrayed Jesus during His persecution and death was filled with the Holy spirit after His resurrection and he spoke bravely without fear about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus whom the Jews have killed. He preaches repentance as a means to salvation and about three thousand people were added to the rank of the believers through their repentance from sin (Acts 2:14,36-41). We must note here they, it is the Holy spirit alone who can give us strength and courage to proclaim the good news of salvation to our fellow brothers and sister without fear and intimidation.
In the second reading, Peter again, encourages us to bear patiently every pain, sufferings and disappointments we go through for the sake of Christ who did all that for our sake too with faith that, He will save us as the shepherd of our souls (1 Peter 2:20-25). This is what true followership means, that is; to lay down your life for one another in love and service.
In the gospel of today, Jesus says that, “I tell you most solemnly, I am the gate of the sheepfold. All others who have come are thieves and brigands; but the sheep took no notice of them. I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe: he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture. The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:1-10).
Jesus speaks to us (Christians) and those who lack the moral ability to choose rightly the way to truth and life by taking no notice of Himself as the gate and as the good shepherd. He describes the devil as one who came to steal, to kill and to destroy (John 10:1-10).
He continues to offer Himself to us as the gate to which we can gain eternal life. We just need to pass through that gate to be safe. Today let us ask ourselves about the choices of the gate we which to pass through. Do you want to pass through the gate of the good shepherd so that you will gain freedom and life? Or do you wish to pass through the gate of the devil who came to steal, to kill and to destroy? The choice is your to make today.
My dear friends, Choose wisely today; choose Jesus the good shepherd who guides us to freedom and life. Peace be with you.