Read John 10:11-18
Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are... Read More…
Meet Sister Geneviève Simons
Sister Geneviève Simons made vows as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur in 1953. She studied religious sciences and Germanic languages. Read More…
For three succeeding Sundays, we have been reading about the apparitions of Jesus after Easter. The Jesus story does not end on Good Friday at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The Risen Jesus shows himself to his disciples. He promises his Spirit who will give them the strength to fulfill his Testament. The testament of Holy Thursday is: ”Do this in memory of me.” The disciples are not just supposed to celebrate the Eucharist, but also to continue Jesus’ mission in joy and liberation for all people, especially for the sick, the marginalized, the expelled, the refugees, the people overwhelmed with debts. Today’s liturgical texts and those of the coming Sundays tell us who we ought to “be” in order to live this testament. Three images come forward: the Shepherd, the wine-grower and the friend. Today it is the image of the Shepherd.
The picture of the shepherd tells us something about God, about Jesus and finally about ourselves. We do not have to change that order but determine how and when we can be that shepherd for others. First of all, we have to look to the Father and to Jesus in a contemplative way. Jesus tells us there is a shepherd who takes care of all. Life is not a series of mere accidents, but there is a pastor or shepherd who leads.
We have strong confidence in hearing Psalm 23, which was composed more than a thousand years before Jesus:
“My shepherd is the Lord, I shall want for nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
There I stretch out beside the water…
Even though I have to go through the darkness of death
I am not afraid. You are with me
and always I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.
The symbol of the shepherd tells us something about God himself. He watches over a person’s life. The shepherd tells us something about Jesus who is the shepherd. He has come down ‘from on high’ and is tangible and visible. “I am the shepherd amidst of you. I am not a shepherd’s boy, but a shepherd. I am not hired by God to play the shepherd’s role. I am the son of the shepherd.”
Maybe the shepherd is most a shepherd when the choices are difficult. In Matt 18.12-13 and Luke 15.4, we see the shepherd who has to choose between the 99 sheep and the one lost sheep. It is not a good situation but a dilemma, because the 99 remaining in the bush are also in danger. Without a question, Jesus chooses to look for the one sheep who is lost.. He says: “In heaven there will be much joy in finding the lost sheep.” In other words: the shepherd, Jesus will even pay the price with his life. He does this with the conviction that we are his people and that as a shepherd, he will lead us home.
We are the sheep whom Jesus came to redeem. We are called by God to be shepherds as well as sheep. God invites all Christians to find their way home to him, and to lead others to find the way to the Kingdom of Heaven. We do not walk alone on this journey to God but accompany others to the Way, the Truth and the Life. Let us pray to be instruments used by God to guide other individuals on the way home.
- Do I know my responsibility in shepherding others?
- What do I do each day to lead others to God?