The Good Shepard
We continue each Sunday of Easter from the first Sunday; today we read the first readings from the book of the Acts of the Apostles. On today’s first reading, we read the story of a cripple and by what means he was saved. We should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the risen Lord.
As a young man, I too rejected the Lord, like Jesus Christ was rejected by the builders to become the cornerstone of the church. Just like the second reading says the reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. As a young man, I did not have any experience with the Lord. I wasn’t close to him. I wasn’t living my Christian faith. I was lost in the world.
Like the prodigal son, the last sheep was found. The good Shepherd carried me on his shoulders and here I am. But my brothers and sisters, just like me, there are many other sheep in the world and they are lost for many reasons; alcoholic addictions, drugs, you name it…. someone needs to bring them back and we are all called to be shepherds for the Lord.
In the Gospel today, Jesus talks to the people about being a good Shepherd. He used parables so people could relate to the meanings of his stories and in those days the shepherds would take the sheep out to the pasture.
This reminds me of when I was a child growing up in Mexico. My grandfather would take the animals to the pasture and we would stay out all day while the animals Grazed. He would watch over them so they wouldn’t stray and they would stay together. I would go with him because my grandfather was a very special person to me so it was a privilege to go with him. He would make sure the animals would stay where he could see them and not wander off.
Jesus talks about us as sheep in this gospel; he is our shepherd watching over us always. He laid down his life so we could be fed the bread of life, so we would be safe from the wolves that tried to attack us. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is always watching over us and he is always protecting us.
He alone could lay down his life for us, for all of our sins. We are his flock; he guaranteed this for all of us by dying on the cross. By rising has given us hope for a new eternal life.
As parents and grandparents, we have to try our best to bring our little ones back to the flock, specifically the ones that have strayed and the ones that are lost. My question to you today is, who in your life is lost or has strayed? Let’s pray to Jesus to help us to bring them back to his fold.
While the Shepherd/sheep metaphor is found throughout Scripture, Jesus’ vow to lay down his life for his sheep is something new and likely shocking to his audience. Of course, the image becomes clear in light of the resurrection; but ancient Shepherds did not sacrifice their own lives for sheep, even if the sheep were their own!
Jesus lays down his life for us, his sheep, and is therefore rightly called the good shepherd.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, may Almighty God bless us all in the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit.
Dn Ben Flores