Reflection Saturday Week 4 Year C- Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Hebrews 13:15-17, 20-21; Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-6; Mark 6:30-34
Christ is our good and true Shepherd
For the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews if Christ is same yesterday, today and forever, and if he preexisted with God his father there are new ways to continually adore, worship and offer sacrifices to him different from the old ways of the old covenant. Deeds of kindness, charity, thanksgiving and songs of praise are equally ways of worshiping God.
Obedience even to our teachers, mentors and leaders are praiseworthy. But as for the leaders of the new covenant, they must not behave like the metaphorical false shepherd of Israel described in Ezekiel chapter 34 1-6. They fed themselves, drank the sheep’s milk, slaughtered them recklessly and used their wool without reciprocal care.
Members of the Christian community especially leaders must imitate Christ and provide the quality pastoral leadership and integrity that the new covenant relationship demands.
These include humility, prayer, accountability, love, compassion and care exemplified by Christ in the Gospel reading of today (Mark 6:30-34). When Jesus disembarked from his traveling boat he saw a large multitude, his heart was moved with pity for them, “for they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things.”
Yes, this “sheep without a shepherd” is a reminder to us that, some of Israel’s shepherd did not own flocks, but were employed by owners to look after the sheep. Kings and presidents do not own people, but elected or appointed to exercise love, care, justice and responsible leadership. God owns people. He calls them “my sheep.” Leaders everywhere must also watch against the temptation of abusing one’s office or running their flock and sheep as a means of personal prosperity or self-interest and power, without the common good at heart.
The flock belongs to the Lord. We are caretakers and workers in the Lord's Vineyard. And may members of the Christian and civil communities trust in Christ the Great shepherd of the sheep and imitate his qualities of compassion, love and care, in exercising their responsibilities, and in dealing with and caring for one another.