Sacerdos in Aeternum | Rev. Fr. Rommel Molina Arcilla:

The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep… I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.”

 

To be a good shepherd or to be a good leader of the flock is a real challenge. We have a lot of leaders and we all know that but there seems to be a scarcity when the word “good” is attached to it. Obviously, the only model that we can think of when it comes to good leadership is the leadership that was introduced by Jesus by being the good shepherd, a servant leader to His people.

 

Nowadays, this fine leadership had become a rare find and a real pearl. We have leaders, but we do not know where they are leading us. They are self-proclaimed leaders but they do not even know the people whom they are leading. They just do not have the heart to know them because they are so detached from the kind of life that these people are living. How can they be aware of their needs when these leaders need nothing else but money and power? Their idea of leadership is very far from the kind of leadership that Jesus had shown us through His example.

 

Tomorrow (May 09), we will choose our leaders again. Doing so is a chance for all of us to improve our lives or to destroy it once and for all. There are a lot of issues that need answers and remedies, our leaders can give those answers and remedies, but who does? Yes, HUDAS! Maybe our leaders have sold us out long ago just like what Judas did to Christ. Our present leaders are not really leading us to that place “flowing with milk and honey” but rather to our  suffering, a foretaste of hell.

 

Good governance or good leadership for me is a two-way process. First, I believe there must be a real leader, a good shepherd, who has the courage to give up everything in the name of love and service to the people whom is obliged to serve. Second is the quality and readiness of the flock. It is important that the flock, with all their trust and confidence to their leader, will follow with all humility and submissiveness to the plans and designs of their leader simply because they know him to be good and they trust him.

 

Well, if these are the conditions, maybe we are so far away behind to realize our dreams. We can hardly even find a good leader in this present world. Most of them are slaves to their own personal agenda which, sad to say, are not always in line with the best interest of the people under their care. Leaders today cannot sacrifice their life for the good of all. All they know is to sacrifice the good of all for their personal gain, in power and in their wealth.

 

I did not want to write something about this topic because, for me, it has become stationary, I mean it keeps on repeating on and on like social disease with no known cure. People will read and understand things like this but I know it will never take a deep root in them. They will forget and they always will even if we go back and re-read our history. We never learn from our past and this is the sad reality that we need to be aware of.

 

What pains me so much is the numbness of the people to these evils around us. We know, I am so sure, that we are being trampled upon (our rights, dignity, principles and all that) by our leaders and yet we just give them a faint smile, a sign of our consent or shall I say, our non-committal to take on the challenge to seek improvement in our country and in our community.

 

People have become so numb and passive to these kinds of things, it is a signal that we have also lost the appreciation of our life. If we have lost that jest in our lives, maybe we also stopped thinking about the brighter future for the generations yet to come. I really hope I am wrong, but how can I be wrong when everything is written in our history?  Can we have a brighter future as a nation? Or this thing is now considered obsolete and non-existent in this arena of wild beasts who are trying to kill one another? The world has turned into a place where only the rich and the powerful survive… but I know they are not the fittest.

 

In the light of the forthcoming election of our political leaders tomorrow, May 09, what is especially to be kept in mind? And what of our leaders? What do they reveal that reflects the image of the good shepherd? Do they nourish their flock or do they fatten themselves at the expense of the sheep? Do they guide their flock to greener pastures or do they seek the best pastures, the most comfortable places for themselves and allow the sheep to wander away to thorny places?

 

Incidentally, we are also celebrating Mothers’ Day this Sunday (May 08). It has been said over and over again that a mother’s love knows no limits. She can love her children unconditionally and love even her unlovable children. This power to love with no limits are given to our mothers and we may have known and even encountered a lot of stories to support this truth. It can even be true that mothers, or women, are better shepherds than men because, with them around the house, the family is well-fed and safe.

 

This election period is so crucial to our country. So, maybe it is just right and fitting for us to pray that the next shepherd of the Filipino flock is a woman, a mother. For we know that she will really be a good shepherd to us all. Let us therefore pray that God may grant us wisdom and guidance in choosing the best shepherd for us, the one with untainted background, the one with outstanding talents and abilities, the one who has the fear of God, and the one who cares and fights for the dignity of human life… that one is a woman!

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