Christ is the Good Shepherd

Posted on April 25, 2023 by Published by

This Sunday is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. We are halfway between Christ rising from the dead on Easter Sunday and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Two weeks ago, we were reminded of God’s mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday and today we are reminded that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Perhaps we are reminded of some beautiful and stylized picture of a smiling Jesus with a lamb over his shoulders. Perhaps we are reminded of some pastoral painting, or a scene from All Creatures Great and Small, or some other movie image of a young Maureen O’Hara walking through a lush field with sheep scattering hither and yon. Those are all beautiful images but, for those of us who have grown up in an urban environment or live in a suburban environment like Arlington Heights, these beautiful images just reinforce our superficial image of Christ the Shepherd and we the flock.

A good friend of mine who has a small farm and has maintained a flock of sheep for several decades provided me with an insight into the relationship between sheep and the shepherd and therefore our relationship with God. Jesus tells us that his sheep know his voice. A flock of sheep recognizes the voice of the master and therefore obeys and follows its master.

In Jesus’s time various shepherds would gather their flocks into a pen in a town at certain times so that they would not all have to stay in the fields with their flocks on that particular night. Flocks from multiple shepherds would be maintained in the same pen and in the morning the shepherds would come to gather their flocks and the sheep would recognize the voice of their individual shepherd and each sheep would listen to and only follow their own shepherd.

Today we are distracted by so much noise and so many issues – the economy, entertainment, sports – issue after issue gains our attention. We must tune our spiritual ears in order to hear the voice of our shepherd. This is the only way to overcome these distractions. This is the only way to follow the Good Shepherd and listen to his voice.

God Bless,
Deacon Jerry Brennan

Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter: Lectionary 49

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