21 April 2018

FROM OBLIGATION TO LOVING COMMITMENT

IV SUNDAY OF EASTER
acts 4:8-12; 1 john 3:1-2; john 10:11-18

a missionary society wrote to david livingstone and asked: «have you found a good road to where you are? if so, we want to know how to send some men to join you.» livingstone replied: «if you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, i don’t want them. i want men who will come if there is no road at all.»


there is a big difference between those who seek the easy path and those act out of love and commitment. that is the point jesus makes in this sunday’s gospel. 
he contrasts the attitudes of a good shepherd and a false one. a real shepherd is born to his task; it is a vocation! he knows his sheep and calls them by name; he loves his sheep and they love him; it is second nature for him to think of his sheep first; he does not abandon his sheep even, and especially, in the face of danger. for hired hands, to which jesus likens the pharisees, it is a «job»; they are in it solely for the pay, «they care nothing for the sheep» and so they run away in the face of danger. 
one who works out of loving commitment thinks of the people one is serving and is totally with/for them. one who is obliged to work thinks chiefly about oneself and recompense.

jesus was the good shepherd who loved his sheep deeply and whose concern for them extended to freely laying down his life.

jesus, the good shepherd, invites us to be good shepherds. he challenges us to move from acting out of obligation to service in loving commitment; to stand with and be a faithful presence to people in need.
who, in my life, needs «good shepherding»? what forms will «being with» take?