The Good Shepherd
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - May 3, 2020 - 12:00am

We are now in the fourth Sunday of Easter and today is the celebration of the Good Shepherd and, indeed, our Lord Jesus Christ is our good Shepherd and he explains what it means to be a good shepherd. We can read today’s gospel in John 10:1-10.

 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

“4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.

“7 Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. 9 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.[a] They will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

* * *

This teaching is easy for the Lord’s disciples to understand, as most people in ancient times were either planters or shepherds. How important are shepherds to our Lord? In Luke 2:8-18. “8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

“13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”

This teaching is still true especially to our modern-day shepherds; our bishops and priests. I recall that when he was just became Pope, Pope Francis asked his bishops and priests to shepherd to be closer to their flock to the point that they end up smelling like sheep!

That our Lord Jesus has many titles that carry his name, but his title of the Good Shepherd came from the Book of Ezekiel who wrote in Ezekiel 34: 1-6, “1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? 3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. 5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts. My sheep were scattered; 6 they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill.” This writings confirm that our Lord Jesus Christ is truly our Good Shepherd!

GOOD SHEPHERD
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