Who Is The Good Shepherd?
(See Jn 10:1-10)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
December last year 2016, the American people finally elected Mr. Donald Trump, a man of countless controversies, their leader, and the world’s de facto leader.
This May of 2017, the French people are pondering whether or not to vote for a thirty-nine years old gentleman, an independent candidate for the presidency. Mr. Emmanuel Macron appears on the political stage with rumors that have made no less controversial news.
Voters often get confused when they listen to politicians who always master the art of saying something simple in complicated ways and who have ready-to-utter beautiful promises which will soon vanish after they won the elections.
It is not fair, on the one hand, to blame voters for having chosen wrong leaders because true leaders have become scarcer and scarcer. On the other, it seems to be honest to admit the reality that we are facing the crisis of leadership when those running for public service do not know the truth that they have a very noble calling to serve not their own personal interest but the common good of the people.
A true and authentic leader is described by Jesus Christ as the good shepherd in today’s Gospel Reading.
Who is a good shepherd?
First, a good shepherd has to enter the sheepfold through the gate. This means that a good shepherd should not use any dishonest manipulation to climb to power. “Whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.”
Second, a good shepherd knows his sheep by name. This means that a good shepherd only has as his number one priority the benefits of the sheep because he comes not to be served but to serve people, the poor, the voiceless and the oppressed in particular. “The shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
Third, a good shepherd will not put burdens of laws and obligations on the shoulder of the sheep but on the contrary he will lead them by good example. “When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.”
Four, a good shepherd is not only ready to love and care for his sheep, but he is also willing to lay down his own life to save the life of his sheep. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As we celebrate the Good Shepherd Sunday today, we pray to God the Father to bless our countries and our churches with good and exemplary leaders bearing the characteristics of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, so that we may overcome the crisis of leadership in our today’s society.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.