The Fourth Sunday of Easter is called the Good Shepherd Sunday because the Gospel of the day talks about Christ as a shepherd who is GOOD.

To better understand John 10:1-10, we have to go to the socio-political context of John in the Bible.

During the time of the Greek and Roman Empires, the Emperors were seen as a shepherds who protected their people from being attacked and provided food in abundance so that, the expression ‘green pastures’ became the mark of a good emperor.

Now, Jesus in the Gospel of John was likened to the class of emperors when he said he was the good shepherd of the people of Israel. This assertion did not go down well with the people so they killed him. We read: “From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar” (Jn 19:12}.

However, Jesus’ assertion as the good shepherd was a metaphor which was not to be taken literally. His role was not that of war or physical provision of food but the offering of himself for the entire humanity so that through his death mankind will be freed from sin and eternal damnation. This explains the

First reading when Peter said: “God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.” So, through Jesus’ death on the cross, he has become the Good Shepherd who keeps his people safe from the evil one and that, those who believe in him will not lack anything (cf. Ps 23).

Today, we are reminded of the role we all have as shepherds. Through our simple presence in the world, we have become keepers of each other and we must play this role well.

We must interrogate ourselves on the use of the powers attached to this role. Do we unjustly apply these powers? Do we challenge unjust systems? De we cling to power instead of protecting people?

We are all called to evaluate our role of being shepherds in the light of Jesus the Lord and Christ.

Fr Dennis, SMA

posted by: Mark