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ANATOMY OF A GOOD MERCENARY

FOR SUNDAY 04.21


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So, when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me — just as the Father knows me and I know the Father — and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”


JOHN 10, 11-18 (NIV)

 

Have you ever wondered what makes someone a true leader? In today's world, where a leader’s greatness is often measured by the number of online followers and the brand of their car, it's easy to forget the true meaning of leadership. Today, we will focus on the supreme example of a leader, Jesus. "The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" – an image that seems almost unrealistic today.

 

How often do we encounter the attitude: “What’s in it for me?” Yet, Jesus says, “I do this not for gain but because I love you.” How can we translate His attitude into our lives in the twenty-first century? Jesus, the Good Shepherd, epitomizes sacrifice and love. He calls us to follow in His footsteps, leading others through life with love and responsibility.

 

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” The Master asserts that He knows each of us by name and His voice is genuinely recognizable among many others. In a world bombarded by endless stimuli, where every sender claims to have the best offer, can we still distinguish the voice of the Good Shepherd?

 

Instead of heeding the call that leads to life, we often succumb to voices that lead us astray. The words from the second chapter of the First Epistle of Peter remind us: “For you were like sheep going astray. But now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls – follow Him and imitate His ways!”

 

In a world full of anonymity and superficial relationships, true leadership is recognized by the extent of care for those around us. Jesus demonstrates that a real leader knows his charges, their needs, dreams, and fears. How can we emulate Christ in our lives? Let's start with authentic relationships and honest conversations, boldly asking about needs without imposing commonplace answers.

 

The modern world continues to showcase "mercenary leaders" who opt for escape in the face of problems. Jesus is the antithesis of such behavior, giving everything, even His life. His sacrifice measures true love and commitment.

 

Mercenaries, faced with a formidable challenge, find it hard to trust someone who declares, “I stay, regardless of the danger.” Yet, that is precisely what Jesus proclaims. He is not a mercenary who works nine to five, watching the clock and counting minutes until the end of the shift. His commitment to our lives is total.

 

Jesus, saying He is the Good Shepherd, sets a standard of love and sacrifice that seems contrary to the world's logic. In the fifteenth chapter of the Gospel according to Luke, Christ tells of a shepherd who leaves ninety-nine sheep to find the one that is lost. In the "economy" of this world, this is nonsense. For God, it's a depiction of boundless love.

 

“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen; I must bring them also. They too will hear my voice, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” Jesus speaks of gathering all under His leadership. Our society is divided, full of conflict and misunderstanding. Jesus calls us to be bridge builders and wall breakers. How can we work towards unity in our surroundings? It might start with a simple act of forgiveness, a conversation, and an attempt to understand the other side.

 

Today’s Word is a reminder that we have a Shepherd who knows us, who follows us, and who leads us. In the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John, the Master says, “I lead them to eternal and endless life. None of those who follow me will perish forever! No one can snatch them from me.”

 

May His example inspire us to be better leaders, true shepherds in our daily lives. May He guide us in making decisions at every moment of our lives.

 

May God bless us all on this holy day... and beyond.


 

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