FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER - 2018
JESUS SAID, I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD
The Gospel of John on this Fourth Sunday of Easter has all the characteristics of Christ’s resurrection. The background setting of this Gospel presents us with two different types of Shepherds: one is the shepherd, who is a hired man. He has no love or care for his sheep; he is only interested in the wages he receives. When he is challenged by the demands of his shepherding he’s found lacking. For example, if a wolf or wild animal came after his sheep, he runs away for his dear life, leaving the sheep at the mercy of these wild animals. The other Shepherd is the one that knows his sheep and his sheep know him. He is ready to sacrifice everything he has including his own life in order to save the sheep placed under his care. Hence, “Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” These two images are very powerful to understand God’s love made manifest in his son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus attests that, “I am the Good Shephard”. He goes on to tie into the sacrifice he offered for you and me on the Cross of the Calvary. He quickly reminds us that, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father." My brothers and sisters, our faith in Christ is not negotiable. The hired man is the evil one. He is very deceptive. He cannot lead us to anything good. Therefore, he tempts us and once we fall into sin he departs – that is a bad Shephard. But Jesus, the Good Shepard is always there for us, both in good time and bad; rainy or dry season, during happy hour and sad hour, he is always at our caring. Who do you prefer? Jesus, the Good Sheppard or the hired man, who runs away when you are under persecution? I choose Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
Happy Good Shepherd Sunday!
Father Uche Obikwelu