CHRIST: THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Sunday 19th July – 16th Sunday of the year

CHRIST: THE GOOD SHEPHERD

Mark 6: 30-34

He took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length” Mk 6:34

The image of sheep needing a shepherd to guide them is one that very well describes us as young Christians. We are vulnerable and therefore need to be constantly guided and mentored. Just as Jesus was eager to teach the crowd in today’s gospel reading, so also does He earnestly desire to teach us.

He is the good shepherd who never abandons us even in the most inconvenient moment; the good shepherd who willingly lays down his life for the sheep (Jn 10:11). As loving as a good shepherd is, he has no power to protect the sheep that strays. Even though he makes effort to find the lost sheep, as long as the sheep is yet to be found, it remains an easy prey to wild animals. Hence, in our youthful exuberance and desire to be independent, let us not leave Christ’s covering. He guides us through our families, the Church, our teachers and other superiors. Let us not turn deaf ears to them as they try to guide us aright.

Dear friends, the crowd in today’s reading sought after Christ and got His attention and teaching as a reward. Are you willing to seek after Christ too? Are you willing to studying His word, to spend time with Him in prayer and to be united with Him in the Eucharist? Seek after Him beloved and you will receive all the direction and care the good shepherd has for you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for your constant care and direction. Please help me not to remove myself from your protection that I may not be prey to the evil ones. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 471Why is Abraham a model of prayer?

Abraham listened to God. He was willing to set out for wherever God commanded and to do what God willed. By his listening and his readiness to make a new start, he is a model for our prayer.

HIDE A TREASURE: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” John 10: 27 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Jeremiah 23: 1-6; Psalm 23: 1-6; Ephesians 3: 13-18; Mark 6: 30-34

MOVED WITH PITY

Tuesday 7th July- Tuesday of week 14 of the year

MOVED WITH PITY

Matthew 9:32-38

Sometimes our perspective of God could be so narrow that we believe God to be a being who likes to cause natural disasters or send down fire and brimstone to teach us lessons, a being who just doesn’t care, or has bigger things to worry about than our problems. We find ourselves asking questions like, does God really care about me? Is he as loving as the scripture says he is?

The truth remains that God is always ready to listen and help us at all times but we most times fail to humbly let him into our lives. Let us take a look at the story in today’s gospel as an example of God’s love and compassion for His people. Jesus in that reading after looking at people “was moved with pity for them, for they were lost and did not have hope nor did they know where they were going” (Mt. 9:36). That is why God came down from heaven, to teach them straight from His mouth, and to give us a way to heaven.

We should never view God as impersonal, or as someone who just doesn’t care; because these things couldn’t be anything farther from the truth. When God sees our pain and suffering, He is not saying things like, “well you brought this upon yourself!” rather His heart goes out to us and He is moved with pity for our pain. He loves us more than we can possibly know, that is why He sent his only begotten to die for our sins. It is His sacrifice that shows us the love and compassion that God has for us. We are His children, and the truth is that sometimes we get distracted and only want to view things from our own perspective. It is easy to feel lost and abandoned in this world that is why it is so important to focus on Christ. He is the good shepherd who does not lead us to death, but leads us to eternal life in heaven.

PRAYER: Almighty God, show us your mercy and compassion, and let us always experience your loving kindness whenever we are in need  of your mercy, and may we continue to find favour in your sight. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 22- How does one go about believing?

Someone who believes is seeking a personal union with God and is ready to believe God in everything that he reveals about himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “Those who trust in the Lord for help will find strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.”      Isaiah 40:31 GNB

Today’s Readings: Gen 32: 23-33; Ps 17: 1-3.6-8.15; Mt 9:32-38

STAY WITH THE FOLD

Saturday 28th March – Saturday of the 5th week of Lent

Reflection: Jeremiah 31: 10-13

STAY WITH THE FOLD

The image of the shepherd and sheep is used countless times in Scripture to illustrate God’s relationship with His people. The nation of Israel was a farming community and keeping sheep was very common amongst them hence they fully understood this image. They understood how much a good shepherd loved and cared for his sheep; ready to risk his own life in fighting wild animals so as to keep the sheep safe. Yet, they became powerless in fending for the sheep if it stubbornly left the fold and all efforts to find it was futile. When this happens, the stray sheep becomes at the mercy of wild beasts with no one to fight for it.

In today’s first reading, God promises that He would guard his people as a shepherd guards his flock (Jer 31:10). He promises restoration to Israel which had been scattered and divided by sin. Dear friend, Christ assures us: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:10). He has indeed laid down His life for us.

But just as with the sheep, we can only experience the protection our shepherd offers when we stay within the fold. Each time we stray, God, our good shepherd seeks us out. Yet, we can decide to stubbornly refuse His call to come home and choose to remain outside His protection and power. We can willingly put ourselves into the hands of the devil, who constantly seeks whom to devour (1 Pet 5:8). Many Christians have abandoned the fold in quest for fame, power, pleasure, riches, worldly success etc. What choice do you make dear friend? Choose to stay with the fold; choose to remain under the protection of God our Father; He will meet your needs and your safety is sure.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you that I can trust in your powerful protection and care. Please help me not to stray away from you. Amen.

KNOW YOUR FAITH: YOUCAT 22 – How does one go about believing?

Someone who believes is seeking a personal union with God and is ready to believe God in everything that he shows (reveals) about himself.

HIDE A TREASURE: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” Psalm 23:2 RSV-CE

Today’s Readings: Ezekiel 37: 21-28; Jeremiah 31: 10-13 (Canticle); John 11: 45-56