Easter 7th Week, Friday, May 29

Acts 25:3-21 / John 21:15-19 
Jesus instructs Peter: “Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep.”

Jesus looked upon God as a shepherd: “The Lord is my shepherd.” Psalm 23. The Israelites also looked upon their leaders as shepherds, God’s representatives. Thus Ezekiel condemns these leaders for being bad shepherds and foretells that God will replace them With a good shepherd. (Ezekiel 34:2, 23)
It’s against this scriptural background that we must interpret Jesus words: “I am the good shepherd.” John 10:11. It’s against this biblical background that we must also interpret Jesus’ words to Peter: “Feed my lambs. Tend my sheep.” John 21:15-16. Jesus commissions Peter to succeed him as the shepherd of the flock of his followers. 

What is our attitude toward the shepherds of God’s flock? Can we see through their human failures to the commission Jesus has given them? “A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11
God has this very peculiar practice of raising up the lowly, besides of course, casting down the mighty from their thrones.

In simple terms, God often turns a nobody into somebody.  The few examples that will come to mind are people like Abraham and Moses, and other lesser known people like Gideon from the book of Judges and even the apostles whom Jesus called but we have very little information about their background.
Even St. Paul wasn't really a big-time somebody. Initially, he made a name for himself by being a persecutor of Christians. But there is nothing great about spilling other people's blood just to get some recognition.

But after his conversion, he began preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ and that's when God turned a persecutor into a preacher.

But it would not have probably crossed the mind of St. Paul that his name would be mentioned on the lips of Festus and king Agrippa, and he even would be referred to Caesar.

That was really from being a nobody to being a somebody, but that is truly the work of God who has plans for those who are lowly or even sinners.

If that was the case with St. Paul, then the similar thing could be said of St. Peter. St. Peter was just a fisherman until Jesus called him. Then he tried to be a somebody in the company of Jesus. He even boasted at the Last Supper that he would never desert Jesus. But of course we know what happened.

But in the gospel, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him, and three times Peter replied in the affirmative.

Anybody can say anything and don't mean what they say, but it takes somebody to mean what they say and say what they mean.

Peter knew that this time round, he had to mean what he says and say what he means. He was ready to make up for his disgrace and to be lifted up by God's grace.

But that meant that he had to be prepared for one thing. As Jesus told him: You will have to stretch out your hands and somebody else will put a belt around you and take you where you would rather not go.

So it means going back to that lowly state where he will be ordered and pushed around by others. So, it is back to being a nobody. But that's when God's grace can work and lift up him up to greatness.

That's when he will have to mean what he says when he said that he loves Jesus. Jesus said that He is gentle and humble of heart. That is the only time when Jesus described His own heart.

As we come to the Mass to honour the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us ask Jesus to make our hearts like His, as we tell Him that we love Him. And that means that we too must be lowly and humble of heart. Only then can God raise us up with His love.


Many today refuse to accept the shepherd image which God attributes to himself (for example, Ez 24), which Christ claims for himself and which he gave to the apostles. Are the faithful no more than docile sheep? Are the pope, bishops and priests who “dominate in the name of truth, repress in the name of morality, and keep ‘the flock’ infantile in the name of God’s goodness?” (Bernard Feuillet, Journal de la Vie 78, p. 25) Not if they understand their mission of service and self-giving. Not if they are shepherds in Christ’s way. Not if they are agents and centers of unity for their people.

Penitential Rite
Because you call us to love you more than others, LHM
Because you call us to be responsible like shepherds for those entrusted to us, CHM
Because you call us to surrender our need to control everything, LHM

Opening Prayer
Lord, our God, you have appointed shepherds in your Church to speak your word to us and to build community in your name. We pray to you today: May they be shepherds like your Son who look for those who have lost the way, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. May they all be ministers of your tender love and service, as Jesus was, your Son and our Lord.

Flawless the diamond of our dreams
Each facet an accusation reflecting
A base gradation the imperfection of our schemes.

Better to polish humble glass
in hopeful anticipation
of God's loving invitation
to give this world a touch of class.

Lord Jesus, God and man, you took our flesh that we might see in you our value and our destiny. We seek not to escape the world you consecrated by your coming; rather, we dedicate ourselves to the ministry of healing and renewal. Pour out your Holy Spirit to strengthen our commitment.   Amen.

General Intercessions
–    Lord, we pray to you for your shepherds in the Church. They are our shepherds. May their love overflow on us, their people, we pray:
–    Lord, that love may be the key to the living faith of the Church, both in us the faithful and in our leaders, we pray:
–    Lord, let the Holy Spirit fill us with a compassionate love for the poor and the weak among us, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord, our God, in these signs of bread and wine, your Son comes among us to serve us and to unite us. We pray you for those in the Church whom you have chosen for a ministry of service. Human and vulnerable as they are, may they have the strength to serve and to unite and to have for their pastoral concerns. May the building up of the communities of faith and love be their pastoral concern. We ask you this through Christ, our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Our God, you care for us through our Lord Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, Let the Holy Spirit inspire and strengthen those who have a pastoral task in your Church. Help them to bring out the best in people and to make them all in the community responsible for making the Church the sign of Jesus’ presence among people, that all may recognize him as our Lord, now and for ever.