Allocutio – April 2024

Today is the day of the Good Shepherd. Jesus is the “good shepherd” who died for us on the cross “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11). To be a “good shepherd”, one must be kind and merciful. He is moved when he sees that the sheep are going away when the shepherd is not there. He is not like the ordinary workers who do not care for the sheep. John 10:12-13 said, “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them”. As a legionary, we must face people with the touch of benevolence and mercy. 1 Peter 2:25 stated, “for you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.” Once they were dispersed, we had to bring them back to the shepherd and overseer of their souls.

The Legion of Mary’s work not only cares for people’s external needs, concern for people’s inner spirituality is more important. We should follow Jesus’ example in our concern for those around us, give up our lives for the flock willingly. Legionary assignments are not only work assignments, for example, when we distribute food to the needy, emphasis is not on the giving of food but in the personal contact with people’s spirituality, such as, street sleepers, the sick and all those in need. Jesus has willingly given up his own life for the flock and is prepared to do so any time. This is the reason why the Father loves him. He lays down his life and then takes it up again which is the mystery of Easter. The shepherd exists for the purpose of the flock and he dies for them, which is what Jesus does when he dies on the cross. Easter is the link between power to give and the power to take it back again. The power of Easter is love, the unique love of Jesus in giving up himself. “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father .” (John 10:18)

Love brings us out of darkness, our mission is to lead people to light. “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold: these too I must lead, they will listen to my voice”. We need to convince people, educate them and speak to people with our hearts. If we cannot speak to their hearts and change them, talk to them with love, empathy and sympathy. The “good shepherd” is not a hero, he is someone who loves, who is moved by the weak and listens to the cry of the poor, this is the work of the Legion of Mary. We need to reflect on our work in deepening spirituality, we have to encourage a more spiritual life which differentiates us from other organizations and our work is to help people in saving their souls.

Spiritual Director
Fr. Francis Tam
21 April 2024