Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. The image of Jesus as the gentle and humble shepherd who cares for his sheep is a favorite of many people. What we celebrate on this Sunday is our common call, through the waters of baptism, to shepherd others. Whether in the married life, single life, as a priest, consecrated religious or permanent deacon, all of us are given the command by Jesus to "feed my sheep."
Many people feel unworthy of this calling. However, when we look at the lives of those Jesus called to be his apostles, we see the truth behind the saying, "God doesn’t call the equipped, God equips those he calls." Let us take a look at some of the apostles.
Jesus chose Peter. Peter later denied Jesus in the courtyard of the high priest. He wasn’t faithful. He lacked courage to take a stand in public. He was also impetuous and would say and do things without thinking.
Jesus chose Andrew. Before the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, Andrew said to Jesus, "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?" Andrew would still have much to learn about Jesus.
Jesus called James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They left their father and the fishing business to follow Jesus but we discover later that they were doing so for the wrong reason. The two brothers were seeking their own glory asking to sit at the right and left of Jesus in his kingdom.
Jesus called Matthew. He was a tax collector and they were known for collecting more than was required and pocketing it. We can assume that Matthew had enemies since those in his position were despised.
Jesus called Thomas. He would only believe Jesus rose from the dead if he could touch his wounds. Thomas lacked faith.
Jesus called Simon the Zealot. The Zealots wanted to achieve Palestinian independence from Roman occupation using military means. Simon did not know that violence achieves nothing but only encourages more violence. He would have much to learn.
Jesus called Judas. He later plotted behind Jesus’ back. Judas wanted the kingdom on his terms, not those of Jesus.
Today Jesus calls us. Like Peter we lack faith. Like Andrew we have much to learn. Like James and John we are selfish at times. Like Matthew we have a past. Like Thomas we doubt sometimes. If Jesus could use them he can certainly use us. With the intercession of Jesus at the right hand of the Father and by spending time in prayer with the Lord we too can be strengthened and accomplish wonderful things for God and his Kingdom.
— Fr. Dennis, April 25, 2021