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Easter – 4th Sunday
Ten of our students considered living the seminary life.  After taking the exams, half of them passed.  Only two however made it to the last stage of decision-making.  We are praying that the two will finally make it to the seminary’s new school year this June.
This is the time of the year when we are reminded of a primary role of Jesus in the daily life of the Church and of each Christian.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.  He willingly gives his life for the welfare of his flock.  Not only does he lead the flock, he also leads those outside of the flock to fullness of life.
Being likened to a flock reminds us that being church means living together the call of the Lord for us.  We are not individuals each looking for his or her way.  We already have a leader, a guide, a shepherd who knows us and whose voice we follow.
Jesus is truly present in the church as Shepherd and this we know through the shepherds we have in our midst today, called and appointed to the task by Jesus himself.  Bishops, priests, religious leaders share in the solicitude Jesus has for the entire community that worships him and follows him. In a special way we are all shepherds of one another, in our homes, in schools, in parishes and in society itself.  There is no perfect shepherd like the Lord, but modern-day shepherds are called to try their best to live selflessly for the ones they lead.
Why is it difficult to find shepherds today?  I think it is because there are special qualities needed from shepherds, which they must willingly offer to the Church.
The first quality is generosity.  To lead others to God demands sacrifices.  There are other options on how to spend your life.  There are the tempting offers to enrich oneself, or one’s family, business, career and skills first. 
But Jesus demands a generous heart that is bent on giving and not on receiving, on sharing and not on gaining personal satisfaction.  This makes many afraid.  If I give, what will happen to me, what will become of family or dreams?  Will I be richer for offering myself to others?
The second quality is friendship with the Lord.  This is important because a shepherd offers his life prompted by the voice of the Good Shepherd he want to imitate.  This is a life that demands faith anchored in a deep relationship with God.  Offering oneself as a shepherd to God’s people is first a response of love to the One who died and rose again.  Only if a person falls in love this way with God can he also fall in love with people who together with him seek the Lord.
Let us pray that God will supply us with shepherds we need, shepherds after his own heart.  As we pray for more good priests, let us ask ourselves too how we can be shepherds to others as catechists, volunteers and servants in our communities.