Fourth Sunday of Easter
Gospel John 10. 11-18
One of the special features of St. John’s gospel is the wonderful ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus Christ. Jesus uses theses metaphors to help us to understand his nature and his purpose.
Today we heard the voice of Jesus say, I am the good shepherd.
A shepherd is the one who takes his flock around to find green pastures and to places where there will find water. Another responsibility of the shepherd is to protect the sheep from wild animals and to see none of them would stray away. For all this, the sheep had to only follow the shepherd and listen to the shepherd’s voice.
Jesus uses this very common image of a Shepherd and portrays himself as the good shepherd. What is the goodness of Jesus the good shepherd:
He cares for the sheep and will not run away when there is danger like how a hired hand will do. The hired hand will first protect himself but the good shepherd first protects the sheep.
The good shepherd knows each sheep, each one behaves differently and the shepherd knows each one and cares accordingly. Knowing the sheep in a very profound manner – just as how Jesus knows the father and just as how the father knows Jesus. That is a most intimate loving relationship and Jesus knows the sheep in the way he knows the father.
And finally the good shepherd will do anything for the sheep, even give up his life for the sake of the sheep.
This he eventually did on the cross of Calvary, to save the people from sin and condemnation and rose again to be the living Lord and to be our good shepherd.
In this Eastertide, let us listen to this good shepherd who loves us, cares for us, protects us and leads us.
We join with the psalmist to say the words of Psalm 23, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me’.
May Jesus the good shepherd lead us in these very difficult times. Amen