REFLECTION CAPSULE – April 26, 2021: Monday

“Taking refuge in the arms of the Good Shepherd, and in turn, being good and faithful shepherds to one another!”

(Based on Acts 11:1-18 and Jn 10:1-10 – Monday of the 4th Week in Eastertide)

Heard of the “bystander” effect?

Well… the ‘bystander effect’ is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases, in which individuals do not offer any means of help to a victim, when other people are present.

This phenomenon is also called as ‘bystander apathy’.

According to the “bystander effect”, the probability of ‘help’ is inversely related to the number of bystanders (onlookers).
i.e. the greater the number of bystanders, the lesser will be the possibility of help that is offered.
The lesser the number of bystanders, the greater will be the possibility of help that is offered.

Such examples are commonly seen in our society…

If someone has an accident on the road and many people gather around, chances are that hardly anyone would take a step in assisting the injured person..
A cruel trend increasing these days is that when another is undergoing some mishap or disaster, there are many more people taking “selfies” or clicking pictures or busy uploading such “breaking” news on social networking sites, but totally unmoved to help the person in need…

Unfortunately, this “bystander effect” or “bystander apathy” has also dangerously encroached our spiritual lives…

An attitude of being “uncaring” and being concerned only of one’s selfish needs
An attitude of being “lethargic” and wanting to be free from taking up responsibilities

This has led to…
… “careless” tendencies in caring for our spiritual lives
… “irresponsible” avoiding of duties in taking care of others.

The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who confronts this “bystander effect” in our lives.

He exhorts…
… to get involved in the lives of peoples and make a difference to them
… to be conscious of our own spiritual life and be zealous about it

Jesus speaks of Himself, as the Good Shepherd, who is close and intimate to the sheep.

It is this intimacy and closeness, that makes Him personally and affectionately concerned of His sheep.

The Lord also speaks of others, who are least interested in the welfare and safety of the sheep.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and robber” (Jn 10: 1)

The difference in the attitude of the Good Shepherd and the thieves and robbers is this:

The Good Shepherd has a deep intimacy with the sheep… the others have no relationship!
The Good Shepherd is fully interested in the welfare of the sheep… the others only care for their personal agenda and benefits!
The Good Shepherd will undertake any sacrifice, even of His life for the sheep… the others will escape and run away from assuming any difficulties or hardships!

All of us in our lives are entrusted with “sheep” and we are to be shepherds to them…

This “sheep” could be anybody, based on our status and position in life.

They could be…
… parishioners, lay faithful
… students, work-colleagues, friends
… family members, spouses, children
… the needy, the wanting, those in distress
… our own selves

The question is:
In all such situations, of we being a “Shepherd”, am I afflicted with a “bystander effect” or a “bystander apathy” and fail to reach out to “our sheep”?

It is the Lord who has entrusted us with the “sheep” and He expects us to be good and faithful shepherds.

The responsibility is great… the duty is immense on us.

But do we get lethargic and indifferent, and fail in our duty to be a true shepherd?

Jesus, the Great Good Shepherd, is our model and example…
… Let us grow in intimacy of our “sheep”
… Let us become more concerned of the welfare of our “sheep”
… Let us be willing to take up any sacrifice for the good of our “sheep”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:

Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the Hands of the Creator.
The universe was created “in a state of journeying” (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection…
… yet to be attained, to which God has destined it.
We call “divine providence” the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:
By His providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well”.
The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of Divine Providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all…
… from the least things to the great events of the world and its history.
The sacred books powerfully affirm God’s absolute sovereignty over the course of events.
And so we see the Holy Spirit, the Principal Author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a “primitive mode of speech”, but a profound way…
… of recalling God’s primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world
… and so of educating his people to trust in him.
The prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust.

Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children’s smallest needs! (Cf. CCC # 302-305)

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