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. Oct 2021 .
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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
Homilies/Reflections

Jesus is the ideal Shepherd
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK

Jer. 23:1-6, Eph. 2:13-18, Mk 6:30-34. On this Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B, the Church invites us to celebrate Christ, the true King and compassionate Shepherd who redeems and restores His people to the Father. In many areas of life there are crisis of authority. The simple fact of holding a leadership position no longer ensures loyalty and unquestioning obedience. The ideal leader is one who can win respect and generate trust, one with a clear sense of responsibility, who can get things done while respecting people’s dignity and feelings. In today’s first reading, the prophet Jeremiah links shepherds to people of integrity who care for others, people who help us follow the right path and according to the Gospel, shepherds show compassion towards others in their weakness. That is why, in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus gives us the paradigm, as an ideal Shepherd, who never relents in tending and caring for the flocks who were like sheep without a shepherd; despite His experience of total exhaustion from work; yet He realised that the pastoral care of the sheep worth more than His desired leisure or time for rest.

Some might think of the shepherd image as applying only to Bishops, the official “Pastors” in succession to the Apostles, or to the local Pastors in the Parish, the shepherd role at one level or another, applies to all kinds of leadership. We are invited today by God’s word to examine what our own leadership is like. The shepherds condemned by Jeremiah were the leaders who neglected their responsibilities and let abuses thrive. His message today might be to political figures, ministers and Government officials at all levels, who have the task of keeping public order, defending the rights of citizens and promoting fairness for all. The shepherd image suggests that authority is not mainly the power to impose rules. The shepherding role is one of service more than dominion. Its goal is to set a good direction and enable a community to live together in peace, where each individual has dignity and an equal chance of personal fulfilment. Besides the official leaders of Church and State, many others must offer pastoral leadership at a local and domestic level. Parents and teachers are the most obvious examples of this. In practice, they are the ones who help to develop a child’s character, at primary socialisation, laying the foundations for growth into adult maturity. They pass on values by which young people can live and foster qualities that can grow over the years. For this they need the sensitivity and compassion shown by Jesus in today’s Gospel: “He had compassion for them and began to teach them many things.”

May the Lord grant us a caring and loving heart so as to treat and care for humanity among us with dignity and compassion! Amen!! Good morning and happy Sunday!!!

 
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