May 05, 2020 (Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter)
…They follow me
Dear friends in Christ, looking at the shepherd going ahead of his flock gives the sheep the confidence to follow where he leads. In a family setting, children find it very easy to emulate their parents. This happens also in spiritual matters—a good follower seeks to be like his master.
In the Gospel passage of today (John 10: 22-30), Jesus told the Jews, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…” Following Jesus entails keeping step with his life. His was a real existence and no pretence about it, so much, that we sometimes question why God should do that. Was it not possible for God to save us without having Jesus go through all that suffering? The fact that God allowed it however, is a lesson for us. Jesus told his disciples, “If you would be my follower, you must learn to carry your cross and follow me.” The way of Jesus is the way of life. I have sometimes heard parents say, “We do not want our children to suffer the way we did. We went through so much hardship to get to where we are now.” This is however sometimes, the biggest mistake of many families. There is a level of suffering that is needed to become responsible in life. The challenges of life toughen us to be real.
Parents who are in the habit of giving their children all they want, without serious supervision, run the risk of destroying them. You may send them to the best and the most expensive schools around, but is that all? If your children do not learn that it takes hard-work and a lot of struggle to make the money with which you pay their fees, you run the risk of teaching them the easy life. Paying teachers extra to get good grades for your children and helping them avoid going on youth service, is not an advantage. Where parents are content with their children reading all the novels on the shelf but do not bother about how much they know on their faith; whether they read the bible— if at all they have one, is a problem. Will your children practice your faith and serve your God?
The first reading (Acts 11:19-26) tells us of how many people in the early church responded and followed Jesus. In spite of the persecution, they went everywhere proclaiming the good news. This particularly played out so well in Antioch that the followers of the way received a new name as a group which continues to define us today. They were called CHRISTIANS. Are you a Christian just by name or by the totality of the life you live.
Let us pray: Lord, grant us the grace to keep safe those you have entrusted to us, just as you keep your sheep safe. Amen. May the Almighty God bless you, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.