It’s been said that every pastor ought to have six weeks of vacation each year, because if he is a really good shepherd, he deserves it; and if he is not a very good shepherd, his congregation deserves it.

On the Fourth Sunday of Easter, called Good Shepherd Sunday, we continue to reflect on the meaning of the Resurrection. This is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Today, we celebrate the risen Lord as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.

The priest in charge of a parish is called pastor because pastor means “shepherd of Christ’s sheep”. As a shepherd, he leads, feeds, nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects Christ’s sheep in the parish.  The earliest Christians saw Jesus as the fulfillment of the ancient Jewish dream of a Good Shepherd.

The most beautiful and meaningful comment on the life and the legacy of Pope St. John Paul II was made by the famous televangelist the late Billy Graham. In a TV Interview he said: “He lived like his Master the Good Shepherd and he died like his Master the Good Shepherd.” In today’s Gospel, Jesus claims that he is the Good Shepherd and explains what he does for his sheep.

Fr. Joseph