This is known as the Good Shepherd Sunday. When Jesus speaks of ‘my sheep’ he definitely shows an entitlement, a sense of them being his own with a certainty of providing them with eternal life, assuring them an imperishable future, strengthening them firmly grabbing with his hand and holding them in his hand close to his chest, his heart, even hiding them in his heart!

Any follower who feels this grasp, feeling his pulsating heart should call himself/herself ‘blessed’. Jesus has the certainty about them that they know him, recognize and listen to his voice and follow him. Such are the blessed and we who listen to his Word are the privileged ones who have received the invitation to be in his flock. This invitation is to be in the assembly of the

‘great multitude, numerable, collected together from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white….’! (Revelation 7.9)

This gathering was preceded by great ordeal, washing their robes in their own blood, and then made white with the blood of the Lamb.

The ordeals of earthly life properly taken and lived will land us in this assembly. The crowd that enthusiastically welcomed Paul and Barnabas at Antioch (Acts 13:44) may not be admitted to the above assembly. Indeed they did welcome Paul and Barnabas, they listened to them and probably accepted their teaching. However, the seed Paul and Barnabas scattered there fell on the rock and among the thorns and so could not come up to bring forth the grain and harvest. They could not see the shepherd in Paul and Barnabas, nor recognize their words as that of the Shepherd. Hence Paul and Barnabas had to shake off even the dust on their feet as a testimony against them.

Now we are to discern out own status quo, whether we are among the listeners to the voice of the shepherd, among those who truly recognize that voice. We must be aware that these days a lot of dust is gathering on the feet of those sent by the Great Shepherd, which is likely to be shaken off their feet, an eventuality we must strive our best to avoid that happening to us, to our city and to our country.

Fr. George