This week the readings offer us an invitation to spend more time with Christ the Lord and our shepherd. In him, we find nourishment, shelter, and peace. Let us take the theme of compassionate Shepherd to guide our reflection this Sunday.
In the first reading, the image of the shepherd who gathers and sets free from fear represents God. He promises good shepherds because the old ones have failed. This image of God-Shepherd who restores and revives, feeds, anoints, and guides, is used in today’s familiar psalm. The singer of the psalm desires to dwell in the presence of the Shepherding God forever.
In the second reading, St. Paul reinforces the image of a people gathered and restored to a peaceful relationship with and through Christ the true Shepherd. With the Spirit of our true Shepherd Christ, we are gathered and reconciled with the Father also.
Jesus the true embodiment of Shepherd’s qualities shows pity to the crowd. In doing so, he exemplifies a compassionate shepherd who attends to the needs of the flock. Pope Francis continues to invite us to become missionary disciples with Shepherd’s heart. In his famous pastoral dictum, ‘smell the sheep,’ he encourages us all to listen, respond, and accompany others in their journey of life struggles, challenges, and difficulties, and also in their joys and gratitude with a compassionate heart. Furthermore, he calls it, the Joy of the Gospel.
Perhaps we can begin to be dynamic in our expression of faith even as we need the rest, peace, and comfort that Jesus invites us into. At the same time, we can also be active Christians in the ongoing mission of changing the world and making it better through the Gospel. That is becoming Shepherds with the heart of Christ, the compassionate Shepherd. This week, therefore, clothe yourself with the heart and spirit of a Shepherd. As you do so, trust Jesus will help you to help others.
Joy and Peace.