More than 100 million Filipinos – this is how numerous we are right now. Consequently, this means that we certainly live in a diverse community with different languages, cultural orientation and religious beliefs. This is precisely the reason why we are like a flock of sheep that desperately needs a true shepherd. As a nation, we are totally helpless on our own, making sustainable growth and progress unattainable for us. Add to this the conflicting perspectives that divide us into fragments, leaving us unable to work as one country.
Yet amidst this saddening reality, the Almighty God reveals Himself to us as Raah, the Lord our Shepherd. Out of His love and compassion for us, He invites us to utter the words of the psalmist, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23). Doesn’t this give us overwhelming assurance and hope? The message is crystal clear: If we let Him be the Shepherd to guide us as a people, we will surely experience the abundant and prosperous life that He has planned for us.
Not only does the promise entail abundance and prosperity. We must also remember that our Living God is not a negligent shepherd without deep concern for the sheep. He is the Good Shepherd who stays with us in the face of all kinds of danger. The psalmist talks about the “valley of the shadow of death” yet remains steadfast in his faith by saying that there is no reason to be afraid while walking through this dreaded place. Why? It is because of the abiding presence of the Good Shepherd. Like him, we are called to possess that kind of faith. Despite all challenges and trials our country might face, we must continue to believe that our Loving Shepherd Himself will keep us safe from all harm.
Above all, we must keep ourselves reminded of Jesus’ words in John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” This points us to His supreme sacrifice at the cross of Calvary. There, He proved His willingness to die to redeem us from sin and save us from eternal punishment. This is the ultimate evidence that He is truly our Good Shepherd to whom we can entrust our individual lives and our beloved nation as a whole. The God who gave His life for us is the only One who can bestow eternal life, lasting peace, enduring strength and authentic freedom for each and every one of us.
Hence, my challenge for all of you, fellow Filipinos, is to faithfully follow Raah, the Lord our Shepherd. John 10:4b says, “the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” As a nation, we must seek to know the Good Shepherd who holds the answer to our every need and has the power to unite us towards genuine change and progress. And may we, as one family, declare with faith: the Lord is our Shepherd, we will not lack any good thing.
God bless you all and God bless the Philippines!