04.05.2020 — Professional or Vocational Leadership

4th week in Easter Time, Monday – 4th May 2020 — Gospel: Jn 10,11-18

Professional or Vocational Leadership

This section presents the contrast/comparison between two individuals: good shepherd (10,11. 14-18) and hired hand (10,12-13). They represent two completely different kinds of leadership. All past leaders, present religious leaders, belong to this second group. They are exclusive, self-serving and avoid suffering for the community. Instead of giving them life, they took it away from them. But Jesus came to give them life through the giving of his own. His teaching is modeled on the Old Testament shepherd tradition (Jer 23,1-8; Eze 34; Zeph 3,3; Zach10,2-3; 11,4-17): to give one’s life so that others may live. In giving of his life Jesus does something for the community that no one else has ever done. He did this not as a victim but as a willing, voluntary sacrifice (10,18a), at the command of the Father (10,18b). When Johannine community affirmed Jesus as the Shepherd, they were not only making a Christological affirmation, but were also affirming what kind of leadership was expected in their midst. The “good-shepherd” model was the one that the leaders of the community were encouraged to follow. This leadership ministry is a command given by God to do service for others. Therefore this ministry is not about ourselves (profession) but about the people we serve (vocation). If we are hired hands, then we do not care for the sheep (10,13), but for ourselves, our career, and our success. But when we care for others to the point of giving our lives for them, then we accept our ministry as a vocation, and follow the heart of the good shepherd.