Shepherds, Leaders, and Managers
4th Sunday of Easter

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

We are at the height of the election fever. Just this week I wake up daily to the sound of political ads and slogans from cars with mobile sound systems. The streets and highways are festooned with pictures and names of candidates desiring to be town councilors and mayors, provincial board members and governors, district congressmen, and national senators. The political heat is on in the Philippines.

There are similarities in the campaign slogans although expressed in many ways and different words. We are here to serve you. We are here to look out for your welfare. We will take care of you. Our dream is to fulfill your dream. We will be your voice. You can count on us. In a parish where I was formerly assigned, some of my young people rely on such political good will to obtain uniforms, nets, and balls to equip their summer basketball league.

Action starter: Let us choose and choose well.

Given so many people aspiring to take care of us and wanting to love us, we should be feeling happy. Isn’t it great to know that we are loved and wanted? This may be the reason why elections have a special fascination for us. Every three years, we feel we are the most important people on the planet. Politicians seek us. They court us. They bring us gifts. They make promises. They shake our hands and hug us. They make us feel loved. They can even feel like jealous lovers that are driven to violence. As I write this, a national newspaper headline says, “Campaign death toll hits 22”.

Some of these politicians make good on their promises and they make us glad. Others conveniently forget their pledges once they are in office and we are sad. Hope springs eternal and we wait for the next election. Perhaps next time we will not be so disappointed. We might get a good leader and manager. We might get a good shepherd.

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. The Lord Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He is the fulfillment of the Father’s promise, “I will give you shepherds after my own heart” (Jer. 3:15). “I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed” (Jer. 23.4). Jesus’ understanding of his role as shepherd is clear in His words in this Sunday’s gospel. ). A shepherd is a protector of the flock, “I give them eternal life and they shall never die. No one can snatch them away from me” (Jn. 10:28). A shepherd is also a leader, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me”(v. 27). A shepherd is a good manager. He administers the day to day affairs that sustain the flock. He brings the flock to good pasture and clean water.

In these elections, we will have the opportunity to choose our shepherds. This is supposed to be a democratic process where we can exercise our freedom to choose. There are many factors that may limit this freedom. There are political machinations and coercions. The element of fear might be there. There might be cynicism about whether our individual votes will make a difference at all. In spite of all these, let us vote.

This is the time to choose good shepherds .