Good Shepherd – Part 1
The accompanying photo for this blog post is that of a wood carving depicting the Good Shepherd. I received it as a souvenir, back in 2008 during our congregation’s 26th General Chapter in Rome. It’s actually from the Holy Land, carved out of olive wood. However (from the aesthetic point of view — notice it in the photo?), it didn’t really strike me then. In fact, even until now. Nevertheless, for some strange reason, I still keep this wood carving with me. It is even displayed now in my office here in Don Bosco Batulao.
I know better now the reason. Back to more than twenty years ago, I was doing my licentiate thesis on the role of the priest in youth ministry. There I posited that shepherding is indeed one of the main functions of a priest-youth minister. But far from the “sweet and syrupy” image of the shepherd (with handsome and well-toned features, superhero-like), it is actually more of the opposite. There is a sweaty, edgy, and rough aspect of shepherding. A real good shepherd faces several difficulties and takes risks — all for the sake of the sheep under his care and concern.
Most images of the Good Shepherd bank more on the first idea, the one emphasizing more the “soft” aspects. I’d rather be grounded with the stark reality.
Now all these makes me appreciate better now this wood carving I have. I will expound on this further later (in my next entry). I will link it with some recent experiences of mine with real-life shepherds of the Church: Filipino Catholic bishops, that is to say.
MartYM or Fr. Martin Macasaet, SDB, SThD is a professor of Youth Ministry. RHe received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome.