We’re half way through the Easter season and this is my favorite part — reflecting on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. My favorite image of Jesus is the Good Shepherd. It’s the perfect image for us today. (See Scripture below for your reflection.)
It took me a long time to realize that shepherds walked down the road ahead of their flock. And the sheep simply followed. They responded simply to his voice.
What a wonderful model for leadership of any kind. Not coercing. Not goading. Not threatening. Not saying “If you don’t follow, you’re going to hell.”
Jesus simply wants to lead the way. He wants to BE the way because he walked the path ahead of us. He knows what human life is about.
And more than that, he says “I know mine and mine know me.”
He’s talking about knowing us personally for who we are inside, who we really are. He delights in those under his care. He rejoices in us. He wants to be very close to us.
And he wants us to know him personally and intimately, too. That’s all.
That’s enough. For those of us who know, who realize, that God loves us, lifts us up, supports us, simply wants us to be who we are, that is simply enough.
This is the Jesus I know and love. Jesus who has invited me into a personal relationship with him and that, because of that, makes all the difference in the way I live and love.
I, too, want to shepherd like that. To be an example to others. To lead and to know and care for those in my life.
Today’s gospel says theirs a difference between a Good Shepherd and a hired hand who abandons the flock when things get rough. The Good Shepherd will leave the flock and search for the lost sheep and bring them home.
I love this image of Jesus. It’s my favorite. It’s my model of what a priest should be like — or a parent or a teacher or a coach. As I prepare to celebrate 40 years of service as a priest on May 24th, I just hope that I can continue to be a good shepherd.
many of us have the role of shepherding others.
May we rejoice in that sacred honor and privelege
and do it well, not for profit but for love.
May we never betray that trust.
May we always delight in being cared for by You.
To You be honor and glory and praise!
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away–and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.
10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
priest / writer