May 3 2020 Reflection
Sunday 3 May 2020
First Reading: ACTS 2:14A, 36-41
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
PS 23: 1-3A, 3B4, 5, 6
Second Reading: 1 PT 2:20B-25
Gospel Reading: JN 10:1-10
Today’s Note: Fourth Sunday of Easter
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
The shepherd calls his own sheep by name. (John 10:3)
Good Shepherd Sunday often brings bucolic scenes to mind. Picture a well-groomed shepherd, crook in hand, seated peacefully in lush, green pastures, surrounded by docile sheep. It’s beautiful, isn’t it?
But such an image falls short on two counts. First, shepherd and flock are often dirty and decidedly not peaceful. Second, Jesus called himself a “shepherd” as a rebuke to the Jewish leaders who had just rejected him and cast out a man he had cured of blindness. A true shepherd, Jesus told them, knows his sheep well and leads them with care. And Jesus, the goodshepherd, goes so far that he “lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
We can read Jesus’ words here as a course correction for his opponents, but we can learn something for ourselves as well. For we are all shepherds for God’s people in one way or another. We are all called to care for his people by following in Jesus’ footsteps. Our “flock” may include our children, our parents, or our catechism class. We may be quiet shepherds welcoming a new family at church or mentoring a coworker. But no matter who is in our flock, we need to remember that the sheep belong to Jesus and not to us. He treasures each one of them and wants us to reflect his own love and self-sacrifice.
So ask yourself, “How well do I know my sheep? Do I know the names of my coworkers or fellow parishioners? Do I know the challenges my loved ones are facing?” Sometimes we are so busy with our own affairs that we overlook the hurt, weariness, or fear in someone right next to us. But following Jesus’ example, we can set aside our concerns, “call them by name,” and listen to their needs. Perhaps we can even lead them to a place of peace. That’s one small way to be a shepherd for God’s sheep.
“Jesus, help me to lay down my life for your sheep today.”