Can you remember the last time Good Shepherd Sunday and Anzac Day fell on the same day?
In his letter Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis uses these words: “Each day offers us a new opportunity, a new possibility. We should not expect everything from those who govern us, for that would be childish”.
The juxtaposition of both days, Anzac and Good Shepherd, offers us an opportunity to reflect upon the appeal of those who sent us to war and that of Jesus who asks us to be like him…a shepherd and a good shepherd.
Both appeals demand a response. Both, strangely, can have the possibility of death for a cause. Until the powers that be start acting like bad shepherds, we have choices, we have new opportunities, we have new possibilities.
At the end of the day, various forms of remembrances are commemorated. One is associated with a sense of loss. A loss which seems present whilst families and relatives and even governments remember. All do so for varying reasons. Not all of which are pure.
The other celebrates with great joy, with hymns of praise and shouts of jubilation. A Saint is born. A fellow human has accepted the opportunity, the possibility, and practised being a good shepherd.
The call to war is not always sounded for upright reasons. Our history is littered with examples of power-hungry despots eager to impose their will on others. They demand that the people go to battle. Sometimes the cause is just. The good shepherd, on the other hand, offers us a different call. This call builds on those often presented to our people dating from the time of Abraham, Moses and Isaac. We are offered the fullness of the long-offered gift; that call presented today is to be a good shepherd. Some might prefer to be a good Samaritan. Both have the same author.
Let our self-interest, nor our temptation to return to Egypt, block us from accepting this gift.
So, this week we strive yet again to make acts of self-sacrifice for our wellbeing and for the greater good of the community. That spirit will link us to the deeper truth of both days. We will both seize the opportunity and accept the possibility…a better world will be achieved.