(Fourth Sunday of Easter)
Sunday, April 22, 2018

“A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
The relationship between the good shepherd and the flock is not  that of a leader and his followers, but rather that of a person who gives his own life for the benefit of those he loves.

To love is to give your life

The good shepherd freely lays down his life for those he loves, and he loves everyone. Why does he love them? He loves them because they are sons and daughters of God, just as he is the Son of God. By giving his life for us, the good shepherd opens the way for us to “be like him” (1 John 3:2). The good shepherd is like a mother and a father who are willing to give their lives for their children.
The world rejects the notion that a person can give his life for those he loves. The following are the reasons for this rejection:
1. The world has instituted inequality as the foundation of the relationships between men. According to the world, the relationship between men is one of superiors and inferiors, between the powerful and the weak, between the oppressor and the oppressed. This inequality is a source of antagonism and mutual destruction.
2. Those who hold worldly power do not follow the model of the good shepherd. For, how could the powerful who seeks his own interest (or that of his group) be interested in eradicating the inequalities between the “superior” and the “inferior”, between the master and the subject?
Those who hold worldly power are like the hire men who have “no concern for the sheep” (John 10: 12,13); they are only concerned with their welfare, and disregard the welfare of others. They are the builders who reject the stone “which has become the cornerstone” (Acts 4:11).

He gives his life for those he loves

“The good shepherd”, the one who gives his life for those he loves, continues to be rejected by a world whereby division, inequality, and exploitation are the norm. The world continues to reject the good shepherd who comes to us so we may “have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

(By Jesús A. Diez Canseco)