The Good Shepherd
The Good Shepherd
One of my earliest experiences with Jesus was through the images found in my mother’s Family Bible. A heavy, large, leather bound book filled with pictures explaining the Mass and Catholic Sacraments,photographs of Stations of the Cross and images from the Holy Land. My little girl eyes were most impressed with the sweet pictures of Jesus especially the one depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I studied this couragous man gently reaching down the side of a steep mountain to save a sheep caught in a thorn bush. Since I had never seen a shepherd, I didn’t really understand the picture but the love and care of this shepherd was clear to me.
The Gentle Shepherd
At the time of Jesus’ ministry, there were many sheep in Galilee. They are beautiful animals, but their flocking behavior and quickness to panic and run off made shepherding a challenge. The job of a shepherd is to keep his sheep safe from danger and make sure they don’t become lost. His staff is a great instrument that hooks around the neck of the sheep. It is the duty of the shepherd to gently guide the wandering animal back to the place from where he wandered.
In the Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Easter (John 10: 27-30), Jesus tells us that he is the Good Shepherd. Sheep need leadership and so do we. Sometimes we wander off especially when we get too busy with activities and hobbies, or with our friends.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our work and career that we forget to pray or don’t find time for Church. We wander when we are unkind to others and when we become selfish and think only of ourselves. It is exactly then when our shepherd calls us by name and guides us back to safety. May God help us listen and follow.