Liturgical Colour : White
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we continue on the theme of our Lord as our Good Shepherd, the One who truly knows us in and out, and He is truly the only One who really cares about us and loves us all with all of His heart. And it is only through Him that salvation and life can be attained, and nowhere else. And that is why, He said that He is the gate, and all of His sheep pass through that gate.
And He does not discriminate between peoples, or have favourites on certain races and groups. All are equally loved by Him and all stands equal in His presence. What matters to God is not our background, our birth and our status in this world, but rather, how much we love Him and devote our attention and love for Him. This is what God wants from us, and thus it is indeed what truly matters.
As the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles showed us, some of the disciples of Jesus criticised Peter, and later on also the other Apostles like St. Paul, for having worked among the non-Jews or the Gentiles, and dwelled with them, ate with them and doing things with them. For the Jews, brought up in their rigid faith system since the days of Moses, this was anathema and forbidden.
The Jews took great pride in their ‘privileged’ status as the chosen people and the chosen race of God, being the direct descendants of Jacob, and the children of Abraham. They often looked down on the pagans and other races, those considered as not belonging to the Jewish race and faith, and they prized their status more than anything else. This is the background for understanding why some of the Jewish disciples acted the way they did.
But God, who is our Shepherd, does not care about that. He gave His salvation and the life He had brought us to everyone. He did not die for a particular group of people, but for everyone. What matters is for us to walk in His path and follow Him. If we do not do as He had instructed us to do, and if chose to follow our own whim and desires, then we can have no part with Him.
It is just like sheep following the shepherd, and if the sheep does not follow the shepherd, that sheep will be lost and will likely meet a cruel and painful end, at the hands of the wolves and other calamities may befall it. The sheep cannot be far from its shepherd, and neither can it survive without the shepherd. The shepherd gives the sheep his love, care and attention, and the sheep cherish them all.
Thus, let us all reflect on this fact, that our Lord is our Shepherd, the Way, the Truth and the Life, as He Himself had said. If we follow Him with all of our heart, then we have life in us, and if we do not do so, then we also do not take part in the salvation which He had given us and offered us freely. Thus, this is indeed the time for us to see into our own lives, if we had indeed been faithful to our Lord and Shepherd, who tirelessly put His effort to bring us all back into perfect unity with Him.
May Almighty God bless all of us, forgive us all our sins, and guide us in this life, as our Lord and Shepherd, that in the end, all of us may find our way to Him and be saved. God bless us all. Amen.