Auckland Bishop Stephen Lowe called on the students of Te Kupenga-Catholic Theological College to become leaders patterned after the Good Shepherd, who knows each and every one of his flock and guides them to a place of comfort and safety.
Bishop Lowe gave the homily at a Mass for the college on May 5, at Sacred Heart church in Ponsonby. The Mass coincided with Good Shepherd Sunday and National Vocations Awareness Week.
Bishop Lowe recounted how he had woken up at 3 am and thought, “who on earth am I going to vote for in this election?”
“They all might have something that I like, but most of the time, I just don’t like their policies in general,” he said.
This led him to reflect how we are being shepherded. “We seem to get lots of messages: follow me, vote for me, do this, it’s okay because everyone else is doing it,” he said.
Bishop Lowe said that the Good Shepherd, though, would not lead us astray if we follow his (Good Shepherd’s) voice.
“He calls his own sheep. They hear his voice, and they follow him out into the wilderness,” he said. “He is looking for each one of us. No one is excluded. He calls us. He invites us to trust in him.”
Bishop Lowe said that, in order to understand the art of shepherding, one has to understand “what it is to be a sheep”.
“A sheep listens [and] trusts in the voice of the Good Shepherd,” he said.
He said that, when he was appointed bishop, he chose the motto “The Lord is my Shepherd”, because he knew that it was not him, but the Lord, who does the shepherding.
“We’re called to follow, to listen to him, and not to put ourselves out there as experts who know, because he is the one who is going to shepherd us through these changing times, the challenges we all have to face in life,” the bishop said.
He said that the Good Shepherd is the one who “gathers and protects” his flock.
“Learn what it is to be a leader after his example,” he said.
Bishop Lowe said that Pope Francis is calling for us to be a synodal Church, which means to listen and hear what each other is saying.
“It is an attitude that comes from humility, but not the attitude that says we have all the answers,” he stressed. “There is a call for us to serve.”
The bishop noted that, in this communication age, where social media sends so many mixed messages, it all comes back to “us being sheep . . . who hear the Good Shepherd’s voice asking us: ‘do you really trust me? Do you really listen to my voice? Will you really follow me?”
Photo: Bishop Stephen Lowe in the foyer of Sacred Heart church, Ponsonby, alongside Te Kupenga-Catholic Theological College lecturer Dr Rocio Figueroa and Te Kupenga-Catholic Leadership Institute chief executive officer Robert Blucher
Dr.Cajetan Coelho says
I am the Good Shepherd – says the Lord.