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The faithful and sacrificial love
of the Good Shepherd | Education Day • 23 September 2012

Jesus the Good Shepherd

 

Jesus is not just a shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd is ready to lay down his life for his sheep.

A good shepherd is recognised for the unique type of fidelity and sacrificial love given to his flock. 

This is in direct contrast with the hired hand that may well make a run for it if confronted with danger.

 

Faithful and sacrificial love of the Good Shepherd

 

Jesus proved his fidelity by looking after every single disciple entrusted to his care by his Heavenly Father and caring for all their needs, both physical and spiritual.

He gathered the scattered ones together and brought them into his flock, even in the face of fatigue, hardship and frustration.

Jesus proved his fidelity to his lifelong calling by keeping his promise to carry out the will of his Heavenly Father throughout his life.

He never failed in his mission.

He demonstrated his sacrificial love for his cause by facing the challenges that lay ahead of him, suffering insult and attacks from his enemies, right up until the final hour when he offered himself as a sacrificial lamb on the Cross.

Jesus held a deep love for his disciples and with his very life gave the ultimate witness to his own teaching. He teaches care for his flock, even to the point of self-sacrifice.

 

We are called to be Good Shepherds

 

Jesus called his community of followers to practice the exact same values in life that he lived: selfless, unconditional love to facilitate the healing, transformation and reconciliation of their lives and relationships.

Today the Church calls upon all parents, teachers, Catholic lay leaders and the faithful at large to become shepherds of young people in a world where despair and indifference can dominate their lives.

With their wisdom and compassion, it is hoped they will help young people to find spiritual enrichment and healing, and become capable of sanctifying themselves and others, as well as transforming the world, by forming a solid value system and seeking the ultimate goal of life.

Fidelity is indeed a Christian virtue. Jesus asks us to be faithful to our vocation by being a good shepherd and being willing to sacrifice ourselves in response to our calling.

Notwithstanding the difficulties and frustrations we may encounter in everyday life, we should never forget our role as a good shepherd and offer ourselves to the Lord by leading his flock with sacrificial love.

The Church needs more shepherds to follow the ultimate role model of the Good Shepherd in the care of his flock. And the flock needs the leadership and service of good shepherds, who will love and care for them faithfully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pat Sin Leng Wildfire Incident in February 1996

—the sacrificial love of good shepherds

(an extract from an article written and
translated by Mrs. Helen Yu)

 

This was a tragic incident in which two teachers died in their attempt to save their students from a fire in the hills during a school hiking expedition.

Both the students and the rescue team witnessed their example of selfless care and fidelity. In that life and death crisis, their courage was a vivid witness to the spirit of sacrifice.

Forty-eight students from HKCWC Fung Yiu King Memorial Secondary School led by four teachers were hiking on Pat Sin Leng, a mountain range in the northeastern New Territories of Hong Kong, when a grass fire broke out and raced up the slopes out of control.

As the downhill escape route was blocked by the fire, the group was forced to retreat further up the hill. The teachers put the safety of their students before their own and devoted all their attention to helping the trapped students to escape first.

By day’s end there were four casualties, two students and the two teachers, Mr. Chow Chi-Tsai and Ms Wong Shuo Mei.

Eleven of the other students were injured. The whole of Hong Kong was deeply moved by the noble and selfless sacrifice of the teachers.

The Spring Breeze Pavil  lion (in Chinese culture, the spring breeze is a metaphor for good teachers) was later built at the foot of the Pat Sin Leng range to commemorate their heroism amidst tragedy.

As good shepherds, teachers must be faithful to the mission entrusted to them and never desert their flocks. In difficult moments, they must be prepared to sacrifice even their own lives to protect every single life entrusted to their care.

Such a spirit of sacrificial love is built upon their passionate love and respect for life, wholehearted commitment to their mission and selfless service to the community, thus genuinely reflecting the love of the Good Shepherd.

 

The Good Shepherd’s Pledge

 

The new millennium has brought new discoveries, concepts and opportunities to humankind. At the same time, it has triggered off new crises, which keep challenging accepted beliefs related to education and schooling, especially in the spiritual and moral spheres.

The Holy See issued an open letter to bishops’ conferences all over the world in 2009, stressing that students are to be enlightened and inspired by the gospel in order to establish their value systems properly.

Consequently, nourishing a spirit of love and freedom in them is the key to a balanced character formation.

If we, educational workers, believe and live out what we teach, we shall not only talk the talk, but walk the walk with our students, the strongest testimony we can give to the validity and viability of what we teach.

Education is a long-term and difficult mission. Let us support and encourage each other, by always remembering the assurance of our Good Shepherd:

“I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16b).

“Do not be afraid; just have faith” (Mark 5:36b).

The Year of Faith will commence soon. Let us not forget our commitment to be good shepherds by wholeheartedly putting our trust in God and cherishing our vocation to nurture his flock with fidelity and sacrificial love.

“Follow Christ faithfully and be a good shepherd.”

 

Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong

Catholic Education Office

2012


‘I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me…’ (John 10:14)

‘Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured...’    (Isaiah 53:4a)

‘... and I will lay down my life for the sheep’ (John 10:15b)

 

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