(Acts 2:14,36-41; Psalm 22(23); 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10)
Theme: To Shepherd to Greener Pasture
My brothers and sisters, as we prepare to step out of our homes after days of lockdown, we must pray that our leaders and those who occupy positions of authority may be re-inspired to console mourners, give succour to helpless individuals and families, and to shepherd the faithless back to fresher and greener pastures where success and peace repose. If we fail to pray, our leaders might fail to rise to the occasion after the lockdown.
Having been reenergized by the Holy Spirit, Peter and the Eleven, who had been on lockdown for fear of the Jews, overcame fear, stepped out of the comfort zones, and courageously proclaimed the good news of Jesus, Lord and Saviour of the world. By the power of the Holy Spirit, they led three thousand converts to repentance (Romans 2:4). Thus, the Apostles rose to the occasion after their lockdown, and they led the people and opened wide pathway that leads to Christ, who is the only way to the heart of our compassionate Father.
Thus, in today’s gospel reading, Jesus declared that He is the True Shepherd and the Gate of the Sheepfold. In other words, Jesus is the hoped-for Davidic-Good Shepherd Messiah foretold by the Prophet Ezekiel 34 who comes to lay down His life for His Sheep. He calls, cares, and leads them into the pasture of eternal life. Unlike the Jewish leaders who rejected the good news, identified as thieves and brigands who come only to steal, kill and destroy, Jesus is not just the Messiah, He is the Son of God who comes – as foretold in Ezekiel 34:11 – to search for His Flock, to seek them out, to lead them to green pasture and grant them eternal life. Thus, Fr Geoffrey Plant notes that Jesus is the Gate through whom we have access to good pasture, and the means by which the sheepfold is protected.
In other words, without the Good Shepherd’s guidance, we would lose our souls in the labyrinth of life. Thus, we must ask as the people did in today’s first reading, what must we do, brothers? In response, St Peter notes in the second reading, we must come back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. In other words, in order to be the good and successful commissionaires (as noted by Archbishop John Wilson) after the lockdown, we must re-enter the sheepfold of Christ, ask for a renewal of the Spirit, and develop one heat and mind with Christ. Consequently, our footprints would reveal the footsteps of the Good Shepherd which will be followed by those seeking and yearning for peace and restoration after the lockdown. Therefore, we must not fail to pray; we must not fail to return to Jesus; and we must not fail to lead and guide the vulnerable to success as Jesus leads.