Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
One of my seminary classmates has always reacted when the story of the Good Shepherd was read. “I don’t like being compared to sheep!” he said. “They’re dumb, and smelly, too!”
I grew up in the city, so my experience with sheep is limited. But I do know that shepherding was an important part of the life for the people of Biblical times. It’s the relationship between shepherd and sheep that makes Jesus’ comparison work.
The shepherds of Jesus’ time herded their flocks through wilderness, ready to defend them from attack by wild animals. In a crowded sheepfold at night, shepherds of several flocks herded together could identify their own sheep—and vice versa! Jesus’ listeners would have understood the economic interdependence of shepherd and sheep—a truly good shepherd would value each and every individual in his flock.
The relationship Jesus offers us is one characterized by the dignity and worth he sees in each of us. He knows each of us by name, with an intimacy he shares with us from the Father, whom Jesus knows with the intimacy of a Divine Son. And the bottom line: Jesus gives his life for us, his flock.
My classmate and I still chuckle about his reaction to being “herded together” in this Biblical image. But we both agree: We want to be counted among the Lord’s flock!
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
This week’s first reading (Acts 4:8-12) contains Peter’s witness to the power and mercy of Christ that the crippled man was healed in the Temple area. Who was Peter talking to?
Peter says that there is no salvation through anyone else but Christ. Do you believe that?
According to the second reading (1 John 3:1-2), what is the reason why we may be called “children of God?”
When will it be revealed in the future that we truly are “children of God?”
In the Gospel (John 10:11-18), who said, “I am the good shepherd?” What does a good shepherd do when a wolf tries to attack his flock?
Jesus said that there are other sheep that he wants to lead into the one flock. What does that mean for us?
Did you know that there is also a story of a wolf related to St. Francis. Read the story of the wolf of Gubbio here.
Draw a picture of a sheep and glue cotton balls on the body to make it fluffy.