Good Shepherd Sunday


Acts 4:8-12
1John 3:1-2
John 10:11-18


How can we make sense of the God’s Word in the aftermath of events that took place last weekend in Syndey? On reflection, David Haas’s song, “Voices that Challenge” resonates here with me.                                                                         (

I think of the victims, and those who grieve their loss. I think of the perpetrators, their brokenness, the darkness and hell that has tormented their lives. And I ask myself what are the challenges for us individually and collectively as church? How can we be an Easter People, a People of Hope?  

Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Sheperd Sunday.  In the Gospel reflects the imagery of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the one who not only shepherds those in the fold but also seeks those outside it – the ones ostracised and neglected by society. The Good Shepherd responds to the voices that challenge and is willing to give his life for them!

The opening Prayer/ Collect sums up the themes of today: “Almighty ever-living God, lead us to a share in the joys of heaven, so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before…..”

We may well ask ourselves what does it mean to be called to share in the joys of heaven? Simply all those things that enable us to live in communion with God. That is to say, responding to “the voices that challenge!” Not an easy task by any means.

This union is a result of our baptism, where, gifted with the spirit of God we enter a covenant with Him. Jeremiah reminds us that “He will be our God and we shall be his people,” his adopted children and heirs to the kingdom.

Baptism calls us to “the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity” (Lumen Gentium no. 40), that is, we are all called to holiness. While this is our calling, none of us know how our lives will unfold. Whatever the journey, Christ, the Good Shepherd, is always calling us so that we might follow him. This calling to discipleship is to imitate him in word and action and to confront and respond to the voices that challenge” in our time. This calls us all to radical witness! 

And while today the church prays for vocations to priesthood and consecrated life, for men and women to live lives of radical witness that are counter cultural, we as laity are also called to do the same. Called to shepherd and bring others into the fold as Jesus the Good shepherds does, even if it costs us our life. This is the challenge, this is what it means to be holy and live in communion with God. As the prophet Micah reminds us, “ He has shown you what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” 

In both the first reading and the psalm we read: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.” Jesus the one who suffered, was rejected, and then exalted by God. It is very clear that this is the price we pay for shepherding others. The psalm encourages us and the community to give thanks for God’s marvellous deeds and, when necessary, to seek refuge in God who is trustworthy and will not fail us.

During the Easter Season, we are reminded that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who calls us to himself. He shows us the way to the Father by walking that way both before us, in his Passion and Resurrection, and beside us, as the Good Shepherd who does not abandon his flock.

We indeed have much to be thankful for despite the darkness in our world. Our celebration of each Eucharist is our prayer of thanksgiving.

As we reflect on today’s readings, we are reminded of those who grieve the death of loved ones, those who are persecuted for their religious and political beliefs, those afflicted with mental illness, those without food; shelter, safety for their families; and all in our world who are without and challenge us to ask, “How can we shepherd them so they too will give thanks to God?”

Let us pray for ourselves to listen to the voice of Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd. May we discover in our silent prayer the miracle of God’s call within our hearts. May our hearts continue to sing with hope in our communion with God as Easter People.

Michael Schiano has been a member of St. Brigid’s parish since 1990. As a parish member he has served on the Parish Pastoral Council, Liturgy Committee, Bereavement Team and is a member of the Passionist Companions. He has been an educator in the Archdiocese and has held positions in middle management and executive leadership positions. He currently works in Aged Care in the roles of Pastoral Care Co-Ordinator and Chaplaincy at Brigidine House, Randwick; St. Anne’s Hunters Hill; Pastoral Care Officer at Calvary Ryde.