Nothing can be more relaxing, peaceful and serene as a scene from nature: green trees blending with the blue skies, clean waters nourishing life all around, living things co-existing in perfect harmony – just like this rustic setting. And yet nothing can be more destructive and catastrophic as nature at her worst. I think of the great quake that just devastated Nepal, killing thousands of people and injuring several thousands more, flattening out building without any regard to their value, whether historic or commercial.
Sympathy and assistance will flow in torrents to Nepal in the coming days. People will open their hearts and wallets in touching generosity to help the victims of the earthquake. This would go on for a while but sooner than later, the world goes back to where it was before. We will be spending more money in arms and weapons destroying each other’s cities and killing one another than in aid and assistance to wipe out poverty and hunger forever – for which we have the resources to accomplish. The powers that be will dole out public money to save banks because these are too bog to fail; but the same powers that be will not think twice about gouging struggling students with exorbitant student loans because these young ones have to be taught the important lesson that there is no such thing as a free lunch.
It is a tragic life. Through the pain and suffering we are all heirs to, we hope we would come out better and kinder persons. But we seem stuck in the muck of evil and selfishness. And we even find a rationale for such tragic turn of events – that He who made the lamb made the lion too.
How simple it would all be if all of us but just listened to the voice of the Good Shepherd. Alas, we are not all sheep. There are wolves among us. And worse, there are wolves who go about in sheep’s clothing. Yet, in the face of such tragedy and oftentimes absurdity, there is indeed a Shepherd who calls out to us by name. Cynicism may sometimes mute or drown out His voice. But in the stillness and serenity of nature, we can still hear His voice. Perhaps alongside with the rustling of the breeze through the trees or lapping of the water by the shore.
The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
~ Psalm 118
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”