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Today we celebrate the Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also known as Vocation Sunday. In the gospel, Jesus introduces himself as the Good Shepherd who is ready to lay down his life for his sheep. He is also mindful about those who are not yet in his fold. He seeks out for them and leads them too, so there will be only one flock, one shepherd.

This Sunday, we remember and pray for all the leaders in the country, especially our political leaders. We pray that they carefully discern the signs of times and be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so they become agents of common good. As good shepherds bring their flock to green pastures and guard against wolves, we need leaders who will conserve and protect our patrimony, such as the West Philippine Sea for the present and future generations. Good leaders are essential and indispensable in the work of social charity to uplift the quality of life of the lost, the last and the least.

This is also to remind the laity of their vocation to evangelize the public square. Pope Francis, in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti, urges the laity to actively participate in the country’s political life. This is an invitation to all of us to renew our willingness to dedicate our lives for our country and our fellow Filipinos. Through good politics, families do not go hungry; the poor have opportunities for work and the young have access to education.

As one flock of Jesus, we must journey together, communally discerning these social concerns, giving each other encouragement as we pursue with vigor the path of charity. We must be good citizens, supporting good political leaders who fulfill their office to radiate God’s charity to all, most especially to the poor. We must also fulfill our duty to be vigilant so our political leaders consistently serve the common good.

May our parishes bring all people to the table of dialogue and may our Filipino brothers and sisters follow the example of the Good Shepherd as they lead their communities, filled with the love of Jesus for His flock.

President, Caritas Philippines