Liturgical Colour : Green or White (Saturday Mass of our Lady)
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today we are all reminded of the love which our God has for us, the love which is like the love that a shepherd has for his sheep. It is the greatest form of love, through which God wants to care for us as His own beloved children. And He does not want us to be lost from Him or to be separated from Him. He wants us to be reconciled and reunited with Him.
He has pity on us, seeing us all being lost and not knowing the way to go forward to. It was evident also in our Gospel today, when we heard how Jesus and His disciples were tired after long hours of service and preaching, and that they did not have enough time even to eat and to care for themselves. But when He saw the multitudes of people who followed Him, yearning to be healed and to listen to His teachings, He had compassion on them.
That was why He continued teaching them and ministering to them even though He and His disciples were tired. He loved His people so much that He could not resist Himself to take care of them and to love them, just as a shepherd cares for his sheep. The shepherd who truly cares for his sheep will be concerned when his sheep are hungry, of when they are in trouble or lost from him. He will do all in his power to help them.
The Lord is the Good Shepherd, and we are all His sheep. As mentioned in the first reading today, from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews, that the Lord is our Shepherd Whose Blood has sealed the new and eternal covenant. He is the Good Shepherd, and as Jesus Himself had told His disciples, that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep, that through Him, all of His sheep will not perish but live.
All of us have once been lost to the darkness, our waywardness and rebelliousness have made us to go wayward and fall into sin. We are like lost sheep who wandered away from the shepherd because they have seen something that tempted them to abandon their master. We have wandered off too far and were lost in darkness, and we could not find our way back to our master, our shepherd. Yet, He Who loves us all has shown us the way.
Jesus our Good Shepherd had come into this world to show us the way towards Him. He has called us all His sheep to come back to Him, stirring deep within our hearts the yearning we have for His love. He has shown us the way by His love and by His light, patiently guiding us through life, calling us to follow Him and to persevere through the challenges, temptations and difficult moments in our respective lives.
God has done so much for us, loved us so tenderly and dearly, and done so much for us, that He had placed Himself in the way of our suffering and punishment, and enduring for our sake our intended punishments, which should have been ours to bear. And yet He did not complain when His enemies placed the weight of the cross on Him, and when they persecuted Him, tortured Him, bruised Him with whip and spat on Him.
When Satan accuses us for our sins before God, wanting us to be destroyed and to be condemned because of them, Jesus took upon Himself all the accusations and all the condemnations. Our Good Shepherd had decided to defend us with His own Life, Flesh and Blood so that through Him and His sacrifice on the cross, we all may have life. God has redeemed us by the price of His own Blood, which has made for us a new Covenant sealed in that same Blood.
But have we understood and realised this love? Have we recognised that God loves each and every one of us, so much so that He is willing to forgive us our multitudes of sins, and wanting to welcome us back into His presence? Let us not reject the love of God, brethren. Unfortunately, it is often we ourselves who refuse the love of God, and we prefer to remain lost and separated from God, because we are unable to resist the many temptations that had led us into a life of sin.
Now this is where each and every one of us must play a part. All of us must also imitate the examples of our Good Shepherd, for are we not brethren, brothers and sisters to one another? We must help each other to persevere amidst the temptations of this world, helping to guide our brethren should they walk the wrong path and fall into sin. Let us remind ourselves of the need to remain faithful and attuned to the ways of our Lord.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all commit ourselves anew to our Shepherd, loving Him just in the same manner as He had loved us first. Let us all give our hearts’ love and attention, staying with Him and thanking Him for His grace and mercy. O Lord, our Good Shepherd, be with us all and gather us all Your people, that we may be as one people, one flock reaching out to Your salvation and eternal life. Amen.