I am the good shepherd

April 25, 2021

In today’s gospel, Jesus uses one of His famous “I am” statements. “I am the good shepherd”. The qualifier, good, adds a unique quality to the definition of this shepherd. He is not just any kind of shepherd, not a hireling, but a good one. One that lays down His life for His sheep. Easily, the cross gives us something to point to in evidence that this shepherd is indeed what He says that He is. Shepherding implies real care and attending to one’s sheep. It is such care that is self-sacrificing to the point of laying down one’s life for the beloved. It fills us with such great confidence as we ponder the immensity of God’s tender love for all. It is important to hear this good news in these troubled times, when each day we are overwhelmed with all kinds of troubling news about health and safety, the economy, the loss of jobs and livelihood, and more. We have a good shepherd who is capable of attending to our needs, both bodily and spiritual. Saint Peter, in todays’ first reading, puts it in the most emphatic way: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven  given to the human race by which we are to be saved” (Acts 4:12).It took the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus to bring Peter and the rest of the disciples to this conviction, having previously denied him. Their testimony of a lived experience assures us of the veracity of this Jesus’ statement. it must have felt particularly humbling how Jesus went in search of them after His resurrection to bring them peace notwithstanding the cruelty of their betrayal. Jesus is indeed our Savior. He shepherds us along the right path, always true to His name. When we walk with Him there is no need to fear any evil, for He brings us to safety and   security with His mighty hands. May we rest in the confidence of the knowledge that He will never forsake us. With John the beloved, in today’s second reading, may we ponder these beautiful words as food for thought for the week: See what love the father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Amen.

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