A Reflection for today:
‘I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep…I know my own, and my own know me…and I lay down my life for my sheep.’ (St. John, Chapter 10)
Jesus did just that. He lay down his very life for the flock he loved to the end. He knows his own by name, and his own know him, intimately.
A modern-day ‘good shepherd’ was Archbishop Oscar Romero. When he was made Archbishop of San Salvador in 1977, at the age of 60, he was a very conservative type of priest. But soon after, when he witnessed the assassination of a close friend, and then came to realise the brutalities that his people were suffering from government forces and assassination teams, he had a great change of heart. He became a champion of his people, of the poorest of the poor. He spoke out loudly in condemnation of the policies of the army and government, supported as they were by the US government at the time.
Three years later, on March 20th, 1980, he was gunned down while saying Mass in a hospital in the capital. The shots fired out as he raised the chalice at the Consecration of the Mass.
Enormous crowds, from many parts of the world, gathered for his funeral, many in the Cathedral square. Gunfire broke out from snipers on the roof-tops, and from 30 to 50 people were killed.
Oscar Romero is venerated by many for his care of his flock, even to the giving of his life for them. He knew it would probably happen, but he continued to speak out for the poor.
As of Christ, his Master, so too it can be said of Oscar Romero: ‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep…I know my own, and my own know me…and I lay down my life for my sheep.’ (St. John, Chapter 10)
Google ‘Oscar Romero’ for more information.
Google ‘Sr. Dorothy Stang’, ‘Angel of the Amazon‘, who was murdered at age of 73 for her work among the indigenous tribes, and protecting them against the loggers and ranchers.
Google ‘Filipino Journalist Gerardo Ortega‘ who was assassinated in January 2011, for speaking out on his radio shows about the mining companies on his island who were destroying the lands of the very ancient tribes there. Gerardo was killed for his faith in justice and the dignity and rights of people.
These ‘good shepherds’ laid down their lives for their people !