In the first reading from the Book of Prophet Jeremiah 23:1-6, God condemns the shepherds who mislead and scatter the flock of His pasture Israel. God promises to gather the remnant of His flock from all the lands to which they have been driven and bring them back to their meadow; there they shall increase and multiply, then He will appoint shepherds for them who will shepherd them and none shall be missing. Jesus in the gospel reading from the gospel of Saint Mark 6:30-34, called on His apostles after their ministry to come away with Him to a deserted place and rest for a while. Then after He (Jesus) disembarked from the boat to the deserted place with His apostles to rest, He saw the vast crowd who were like sheep without a shepherd, and was moved with pity for them as the Good Shepherd and He began to teach them many things. So today’s first reading and gospel reading talks about shepherds, hence, who is a shepherd?

A shepherd is a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep. The biblical definition of a shepherd is someone who watches over, looks after, or guides somebody. From these definitions, we can infer or understand that the shepherd’s primary responsibility is the safety and welfare of the flock or the people he/she takes care of. So who are the shepherds of God’s flock in the world today? The shepherds of God’s flock in the world today are not only the clergy but includes parents, grandparents, elders, teachers, uncles, aunts, guardians, older sisters and brothers. So we all are shepherds of God’s flock but do we worry about the spiritual safety and welfare of the flock entrusted to our care? Do we watch over them or guard them? Do we look after them and tend to them? Do we guide them and protect them in our world today?

Saint Paul in today’s second reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 2:13-18 reminds us of what Christ our Good Shepherd has done in our lives as Christians and urges us to be better Christians and shepherds to our younger generation and to others under our care.

So my brothers and sisters in Christ, it is our duty and calling as shepherds of God’s flock to lead, guide, protect, watch over, look after and guard our younger generation and others under our care like we were by those who introduced us to God, those who nurtured our faith in God and those who guided us to God today. It is important to do so today because if we fail to do so, then we have failed God and like we heard in today’s first reading, woe to us and remember God will take care to punish us for our evil deeds of misleading, scattering, driving away, and not caring for His flock He has entrusted in our care. Amen!