- May 3rd, the Sunday is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, and the readings speak of Jesus as the good shepherd. Two questions that could be asked are; Are we part of the sheepfold of the good shepherd? Do we follow the good shepherd in shepherding others to life and freedom? I think the response of both the questions is inter-related as two sides of a coin. One doesn’t exist without the other.
- During these days of lockdown, one virtue that can really help us is gratitude. When we watch things through a coloured glass, it looks different. Probably, gratitude can be one such glass that can help us to see various aspects of our life, our relationships, our struggles a little differently (it is not seeing positively, but seeing it differently). Taking a short time of recollecting the goodness and blessings in your life can be a good exercise.
- Jesus was fully human and fully divine. Most Christians don’t have difficulty in accepting the divinity, but what it means to be fully human. I heard a beautiful explanation the other day. I have read/heard this healing story in Mark many times, but never thought this way.
Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly
The person was deaf and probably dumb. Jesus could have directly said Ephphatha and healed him. But he does a very significant action before that; he does two actions (one might sound a little repulsive) that are actions that could be felt and experienced by that person. Many miracles do reveal this side of Jesus when we observe the gospel scenes closely. Probably, this is the invitation to us to enter into the humanity of each person and respect him/her in their situation and that is the meaning of being fully human. (I am grateful to Fr Charles Rodrigues SJ for the insights into the second and the third point).
Many of the actions by health-care workers, NGOs and people of goodwill during the pandemic reveals these three attitudes (shepherded and shepherding, gratitude, being fully human). Let’s do likewise.
For those interested, a beautiful song from Fr Roy SJwhich is a song of gratefulness.