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Sunday May 3rd – 4th Sunday of Easter

St. Francis Parish | May 4, 2020, 10:53 pm | Reflections

4th Sunday of Easter Jesus the good shepherd carries and lays down his life for us  –  Acts 2:14,36-41; 1Pt 2:20-25; John 10:1-10

A policeman in the big city stops a man in a car with a sheep in the front seat. “What are you doing with that sheep?” He exclaimed, “You should take it to the zoo.”  The following week, the same policeman sees the same man with the sheep again in the front seat, with both of them wearing sunglasses.  The policeman pulls him over and says, “I thought you were going to take that sheep to the zoo!” The man replied, “I did. We had such a good time we are going to the beach this weekend!”

We find a number of titles to Jesus in the gospel of John such as ‘I am the bread of life’, ‘I am the light of the world’, ‘I am the vine’, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’, etc.  Today, on this 4th Sunday of Easter, the Church invites us to reflect upon another important title ‘I am the Good Shepherd’.

Dear brothers and sisters, we all know how popular pictures of Jesus the Good Shepherd are.  In some of these images we see Jesus holding a sheep/lamb over his shoulders, holding the two front legs of the lamb/sheep in his right hand and the two rear legs in his left hand. This image or those similar to it appeals to us because of the tenderness of Jesus, his care for the lamb/sheep and his compassion. When we see this image our minds naturally begin to wander, and we realize its personal meaning for us. We are that lamb or sheep who is being carried by Jesus on his shoulders. Such an image is reassuring for us; Jesus is our support on our journey through life. When crosses and problems come our way or some personal disasters occurs this image of Jesus the Good Shepherd reassures us that we are not abandoned, that Jesus is supporting and holding us up. This is portrayed very beautifully in the Footprints poem which concludes in this way,
along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life. This really bothered him, and he questioned the LORD about it. “LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, you’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.”
The LORD replied, “My precious, precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Dear brothers and sisters, we might have noticed that during the most trying periods of our life, there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when we needed you most, have you not been there for me?” The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”  Jesus proclaims in the Gospel today that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep (John 10:11). Jesus says a hired man has no concern for his sheep and abandons them even to the wolves, but Jesus lays down his life for his sheep (John 10:12-14). He does this because in Matt 9:36 and Mark 6:34 we read At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.

So, Jesus laid down his life for them by teaching them the true way of living. Lastly this Sunday is also known as vocation Sunday, Today in a special way let us pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, that many will be inspired to serve the lord, May Jesus the Good Shepherd raise up many shepherds after his own heart to lay down their lives and carry his sheep on their shoulders. AMEN.

Fr. Rajeev Bobba

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