In the gospel this Sunday Jesus uses an image that was very familiar to the people of his time. Many kings and rulers of the ancient Near East described themselves as Shepherds. This implies that part of their task was that of caring for the most vulnerable. So, Jesus used this image to reproach the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders for their behaviour and to remind them of their duty to care for the poor. Jesus was clearly moved by an incident earlier on where he had cured a man born blind. That poor man had spent all his life begging for money. But never did any of the Pharisees ever show any sympathy towards him – probably because in their own words “he was a sinner through and through ever since he was born”. Then it turned out, that the day when he got cured by Jesus, the Jewish leaders did not rejoice with him, and what is worse, as soon as they heard the blind´s man profession of faith in Jesus he was rejected and expelled from the Synagogue.
The reason why this is read to us at Mass, however, is not so that we start pointing fingers at people – and there are lots of people out there that continue to abuse and take advantage of others. We read this passage at Mass so that we, together with all the Christians, also those who have gone before us, profess today our faith in Christ, our Shepherd. And assure one another that with such a loving God leading us we can be certain that we will never lack anything.
This Sunday, also known as the Good Shepherd Sunday, has traditionally been a day of prayer for our Pope, bishops and priests, as well as a day to pray for vocations. Let us spare a prayer for them and ask God to continue providing his Church with good shepherds.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
Westminster Diocese has also written a short article about vocations. If you wish to donate towards the training of new priest you will find the link at the end of the article rcdow.org.uk/news/good-shepherd-sunday/
For updates on First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes please see News.