April 21.   Sunday Easter 4B.   Fr Brian smiled to himself as he messaged his people, “Sheep and  shepherds are mentioned often in the Bible, Old and New Testaments, and by other ancient religions, as sheep were an important part of domestic life, for milk, meat and wool.   They were treasured possessions that demanded care, provided by a shepherd, either an owner or a hireling, as Jesus refers to in the gospel.  What is our general attitude towards them today when sheep farming is a different type, a major industry? Some of us know all about them, others only know about a lamb chop on a braai and most people have never seen a real live sheep.  They are considered to be quite stupid and docile, inclined to follow obediently or be herded into pens. In Biblical passages the image of a shepherd is of a genuine committed and caring person, leading the way while his sheep love him and follow him faithfully. But shepherds, although valued for their commitment, faithfulness and tender care, have never had any great social status, being simple and poor folk.  What Is the image God wants us to have of our shepherds in the faith? And of the sheep too?   

Reflect, share, pray. Scripture:   Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees.  I know my own and my own know me as the Father knows me and I know the Father.  I have other sheep that are not of this fold: I must bring them also and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.   John 10:11-18.    Pope Francis:  We cannot forget Christ’s desire that they may all be one.   Hearing his call we recognize with sorrow that the process of globalization still lacks the prophetic and spiritual contribution of unity among Christians.  This notwithstanding, even as we make this journey towards full communion we already have the duty to offer common witness to the love of God for all people by working together in the service of humanity.   FT280.   ACTION. How helpful is the imagery of us as sheep, and shepherds as leaders and carers for us today?