Commentary on the Gospel of
Everyone is a leader or shepherd in his or her own way. Those who hold the responsibility of shepherding, in the families, communities, churches, even guiding oneself should consider it a sacred task. St. James underlines this in his letter. The word equivalent to shepherd is ‘care’. They don’t just care about their people; they care for them. They know them. They seek them out, whatever be the cost. They give their people what their souls need, even when the people themselves don’t know or want what they most need.
Jesus is the supreme shepherd who embodies all these characters to the perfection. He wanted his disciples to see in him such a shepherd and in turn become one like him. So, Jesus tested their comprehension by asking them the question: “who do you say that I am?” They fell short of the expectation of Jesus. Their idea of a sovereign and powerful leader did not match what Jesus actually was. It would take time up to Calvary for them to really understand the true shepherd in Jesus who cares for his own even to the point of giving up his life. The prophesy of Hosea is actualized in Jesus our leader and shepherd: “I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them” (Hos. 11:4).