Acts 4: 8-12
1 John 3: 1-2
John 10: 11-18
11″I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14″I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me- 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. (John 10: 11-16)
In today’s Gospel, we hear again Jesus describing himself as the “Good Shepherd;” and what being faithful to that description entails. He is the one who will give up his life to protect his sheep; who will guide his sheep to safe pastures. In turn, his sheep will recognize his voice, will follow him wherever he leads them. And other sheep, not of his original flock, will also recognize his voice, and they will be gathered into the same flock.
Jesus, indeed, gave his life for his flock (us); by his death and resurrection, he freed us from the dangers of sin and death. His words continue to guide us along the right path to the Kingdom of God, if we but listen to them, and act on them. He continues to feed us with his Body and Blood; giving us the strength needed to follow him along the right paths, no matter how difficult they may be. His Presence among us, within us; gives us the hope that we will find a place of repose, in this life and into the next.
We also need to recognize, though, that we are all called to be “shepherds,” by virtue of belonging to the Body of Christ; and caring for each other, both friend and stranger. We are also “shepherds,” when we, by the example of our daily lives, draw others to come and join with us in the flock; in the community of believers.