“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.
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.
For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Some years ago, on a Jesuit high school service trip to the highlands of Peru, our group experienced first-hand the reality of shepherds and sheep. We learned that younger kids walked over the hillsides with their grazing sheep during the day. At night, an older man led the sheep into a stone pen. This shepherd laid down across the entrance to this stone pen: he literally became the “sheepgate.” Anyone trying to come in would literally have to climb over his body to get to the sheep.
Today’s gospel reminds us that Jesus is the “gate” for each of us. He literally lays down his life for our spiritual health and personal safety. What confidence this brings as we rush about at home and work and around our community. Further, as Jesus has done for us, so we are invited to accomplish for one another…in our personal outreach and care for one another and for each of the communities to which we belong. For me, what will this look like today?
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, I will trust in your protection. I will go through this day confident that you will not fail me for I am your beloved.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!