A Time for Good Shepherds
Being at a critical juncture in our country’s history with the national elections looming over our heads, Christ, in the Sunday’s Gospel, offers a clear picture of the kind of leader a country should choose, its citizens should elect, the voting public should put in positions of power.
Yet the noise that reverberates throughout this democratic process has drowned the very essence and message of this exercise.
Sadly, it is not a music that brings about optimism and hope, but a noise that sows discord and division, regardless of choice of candidate.
Sadly, it is no longer becoming an exercise that brings about unity amidst diversity, but the prevalence of hatred and vitriol, regardless of political affiliation.
As a Catholic, yes, we are called to speak of the truth, in season and out of season. We are called to be the opposing tide against a wave that aims to destroy and crush all that is true, good, and beautiful. We are called to even be the lome voice that cries out in the desert, if need be, against the noise that reverberates even in our society today.
Yet, we are called to do so, always with love and in love.
And perhaps that is what it means to be a good shepherd. To love, even if this love may hurt or may cause pain, but it is ultimately a liberating kind of love. It is a love that is ultimately always for the good of the other, always an outward motion that puts others over self.
That is the way of a shepherd, not just one who is a hired hand, but as one, who, as Christ said, “ lays down one’s life for the sheep.”
To love, like the good shepherd, is to know the other. It is not a mere head-level, intellectual kind of knowing; not one that is so focused soley on facts, trivia, and information. It must be a knowing that goes deep down to the core, to the very essence of the other, to the heart and soul of the other. For it is only by knowing the other that true love indeed takes root, grows, and fluorishes, ready to be shared to others. This sharing of love to others then becomes genuine service. It becomes a service from the heart, and for the heart.
When we choose to be the good shepherd, to live as a good shepherd to others, and, in our electoral process, choose one that truly embodies the qualities of a good shepherd, then we create a ripple effect of good shepherds in our country, and in our society.
There Christ truly dwells.