Fr. Kurian Kollapallil How often we hear the sad news of young people risking their lives, attempting suicide, getting duped to the drug abusers, or alcohol abusers’ groups. Home schooled as well as church schooled or public schooled, all are easily drawn away from the morally upright behaviors. The symptoms are very identical in
everyone’s case. Both teenage boys and girls often complain that their parents are too strict, they don’t give enough freedom; they peer in to the very personal matters and are treated just like the young kindergarteners. Young people begin to seek independence, at first by repeated lies, then being self-centered and then preferring seclusion. They feel unloved and trust their peer group friends more than their parents and try to be independent in all that they do. They assert their personality by breaking the laws, destroying public property, thrill seeking actions and experimenting with everything illegal. Some of them realize their mistakes and change their life style, some will continue to battle with their addictions, and some others will be a permanent nuisance to everyone. Here is the way to save your son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, brother or sister, friend or neighbor.

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday. The sheep that belongs to the shepherd should not stray away from the flock; it should listen to the shepherd’s voice, and should know the shepherd. And the good shepherd on the other hand, as opposed to the hired workers and false prophets, feeds, guides and protects them.

Often when their flock is large, Shepherds use sheep dogs. The sheep dogs will surround the sheep and disturb the sheep always and will not let it go alone or away from the flock. Sheep dogs run before the sheep and protect the sheep. The courage and strength of the sheep dog is the armed shepherd. As long as the shepherd is there behind they will protect the sheep. Yet there are sheep who look for the fresh green dangerous pastures and run towards it without realizing the risk.

We are all sheep dogs. As sheep dogs we have the responsibility to safeguard and protect others and warn them of the risk and dangers. The sheep dog chases the wolf and enemies and protects the sheep. Like a good sheep dog our valuable interference, advice, and our timely intervention will save many lives.

Parents are the good shepherds of their children. Do you instruct them, guide them and lead them? You should listen to them to know and understand them. Do you spend time with them to know them? It is easy to do so many things, earn a lot, to be a workaholic, to be concerned about your children, to provide all the comforts and meet all their wants by neglecting your responsibility. If you fail to be a good shepherd to your children, you are avoiding your responsibility. Pastors and teachers also share this responsibility of leading, guiding and protecting the sheep.

“When Our Lord said: I know my sheep, he spoke of all; when he said feed my sheep, he still means it of all; for our Lord has but one fold and one flock.” St. Francis de Sales