Father Broom talks about Fatherhood
All Fathers are called to be Good Shepherds

A Good Shepherd knows his sheep, calls each one by name (the sheep hear and know his voice). Also, a truly Good Shepherd watches over his sheep , nourishes or feeds his sheep and when the sheep wanders away then the Good Shepherd leaves the other 99 in search of the lost sheep and will not give up until he finds the  one lost sheep.  Upon finding the sheep, he bends over to place the sheep on his shoulders communicating warmth to the bewildered, cold and lost sheep and he gently restores the’ lost and found sheep” to the flock.   The Good Shepherd heals the wounded sheep, corrects its behavior for future safety.

Finally, the most noble characteristic of the truly Good Shepherd is that he loves all of the sheep in his flock but also every one of them individually, such that he gives each a specific name and they know His voice. This self-less love of the Good Shepherd is manifested, in the highest and most sublime degree, in his willingness to protect the sheep, suffer for the sheep and even to die for the sheep.  No greater love has one than to be willing to die for the ones he loves!
All of these qualities of the Good Shepherd can be applied most perfectly to Jesus, who knew Psalm 23, the Psalm of the Good Shepherd and applied it to Himself.   We indeed are the sheep of His flock.  Jesus knows us, names us, calls us by name, protects and defends us, searches us out when we wander, bends down to lift us up out of the gutter, gently places us on His shoulders, returns us to the flock and even dies for us and for our salvation.  How thankful must we be to be created, formed, loved and saved by this “Good Shepherd”.

The concept of Good Shepherd can be applied to all of us: we are the sheep of the Lord but also we are called to be Shepherds to the flock entrusted to our care!  The Pope, Bishops, priests, and parents all belong to the “Good Shepherd” club!  Let us outline practical ways that ‘Fathers” of the family can be a Good Shepherd to the flock entrusted to his care!    Indeed one of the major   failures in the modern world is the lack of true “Fathers” to their flock, their family!
1.    GOOD SHEEP OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD.   The first quality of a good father to the family must be that he should have a deep relationship with God the Father.   He must have a deep prayer life and to have experienced the love of God the Father for him!   To be a good Shepherd to the flock, he must first be a good sheep of the Good Shepherd. Nobody can give what he does not have!
2.    GOOD SPOUSE: TRUE TO MARRIAGE VOCATION!  After God, the married man—the father—should have a tender, warm, affectionate, trusting and loving relationship with his wife.  St. Thomas Aquinas asserts that the deepest relationship on a human level is between husband and wife.  Their love and friendship should be the deepest!   This takes time effort, patience, but especially the grace of God!

3.    GOOD FATHER TO HIS CHILDREN.   What does this mean?  First and foremost, he should provide for the spiritual welfare of his children. In concrete, he should make sure that they are baptized soon, within the first few weeks. (Canon Law/Catechism of the Catholic Church- teaches).  He should pray for them, teach them to pray and pray with them!  He should procure that at an early age they make their first  Communion.  Also, he should provide ample opportunities for them to go to Confession. Actually, he should be the one who takes the whole family to confession and he should give good example by being the first one to enter and exit the confessional, radiating the peace of a good conscience.  Example speaks more eloquently than thousands of words.  He should bless his wife and children before they go to bed. The Father is called to be the “priest” of the family.
4.     PROVIDER FOR THE FAMILY!   From the book of Genesis, the woman is called to bring for the children in pain, but the man is called to earn the bread by the sweat of his brow. (Gen. 3).  This means that the man/father is called to provide for the family.  In a more global sense, he should provide economically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, morally and most important spiritually for the flock that God has entrusted to his care!  “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall lack.”  He should be aiming to fulfill this verse from Psalm 23.    A true shepherd cares for and provides for all of the needs of those entrusted to his care!
5.    PROTECT.   The enemy of the Good Shepherd of course is the wolf.  A wolf is much different than a sheep.  A wolf is quick afoot, crafty, intelligent, sharp-toothed, vicious and bent on going for the kill!  He knows the weak-point of the sheep and waits for the moment of attack!   A good father must be aware of the modern wolves that are on the prowl for the defenseless sheep!   What are some of the major wolves that are seeking to devour the sheep of the flock today?  There are many!  Let us mention just a few , so that fathers—“The Good Shepherds” to their flock --can be alert and always vigilant! Gang activity, drink and drugs, pornography, bad TV programs as well as movies and computer websites and licentious living, vulgar and obscene language and jokes, erroneous teaching on marriage (homosexual unions), bad  friends/ companions (that corrupt morals), premature courtships, religious sects on the prowl such as Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and the like.   It might seem as if it is a monumental Herculean task that supersedes the natural strength of any father.  This indeed is true!  But our help is in the name of the Lord, who made Heaven and earth.  “The Lord is my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Finally, all things are possible for God!
Let us turn to a model GOOD SHEPHERD:  the good SAINT JOSEPH!  This greatest of saints loved God with all the fiber of his being. Then he loved and cherished Mary his wife.  His Son was his prize-possession—Jesus the Lord. He provided for the family by hard work as a carpenter and then was always available for the family in all of their needs. Finally, he protected them from danger as we see in the flight from the wicked King Herod!  St. Joseph, pray for our fathers that they indeed will be good shepherds to the flock entrusted to their care!  “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall lack.”  (Psalm 23)