May 8 2022 Reflection
Sunday 8 May 2022
First Reading: Acts 13:14, 43-52
We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Ps 100:1-2, 3, 5
Second Reading: Rev 7:9, 14b-17
Gospel Reading: Jn 10:27-30
Today’s Note: Fourth Sunday of Easter
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
How secure is your faith and trust in God? Jesus speaks of the tremendous trust he has in God his Father and the tremendous trust we ought to have in him because he is our good shepherd (John 10:11). What is the significance of Jesus calling himself the Good Shepherd? Shepherds were very common in the land of Jesus’ time. A shepherd could have hundreds or thousands of sheep under his care. Sheep without a shepherd were vulnerable prey for predators, such as wolves and thieves. If a sheep strayed from the fold it could easily get lost, fall into a ravine, or become injured. Shepherds had to keep a constant watch over their folds by day and by night. That is why shepherds had to literally live with their sheep so they could lead them out to good pasture for grazing during the day and bring them to a safe place at night for rest and shelter. Shepherds got to know their sheep well and kept a careful count each evening. They also called their sheep by name so the sheep could recognize the shepherd’s voice when he called them to follow him.
The Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls
God used the image of a shepherd to describe his covenant relationship and care for his chosen people who were called by his name (Psalm 80:1 and 100:3). God called David, who shepherded his father’s flock in his youth, to be the anointed king and shepherd for his people Israel (Ezekiel 37:24). Jesus, God’s anointed Messiah and King, born from the tribe of David, called himself the Good Shepherd of the people whom his Father had entrusted to his care (John 10:29).
Peter the Apostle tells us that the Lord Jesus is the Good Shepherd and Guardian of our souls (1 Peter 2:25). He keeps a close and personal watch over every one of his sheep – his followers (disciples) who belong to him. He calls each of us personally by name to follow him. And he promises to be our guardian and protector from the snares of our enemy, Satan, the father of lies and a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). The Lord leads us each day to good pastures – places where we can feed on his word and drink from the well-springs of living water which is his Holy Spirit (John 7:38-39, John 4:14). If we feed on his word and drink from the living water of the Holy Spirit, we will find the nourishment and strength we need to live each day for his glory and honor. Do you recognize the voice of your Shepherd and Guardian who calls to you each day?
“My sheep follow me”
Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD), an early church father and theologian, contrasts those who listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd, and those who close their ears to his call.