Christ the Good Shepherd oil painting by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, c. 1660
Good Shepherds by Jean Vanier
Shepherds are the ones
who lead those who have been entrusted to them
to inner freedom—
the freedom to make good choices, to take initiative,
and to grow to greater maturity and love.
In biblical language, to know someone by name
implies a growing understanding of a person,
of his or her unique gifts and weaknesses,
needs and mission in life.
That means taking time with that person, listening,
and above all creating a mutual relationship of
revealing to that person that he or she is loved,
has value and is precious.
One can only guide someone
if there is no desire to possess, control,
or manipulate the other,
if mutual trust, respect, and love have been born
between the two.
Trust is the basis for all shepherding and all education.
A man working with street kids told me
that he is unable to help any of them until trust is born,
trust that he is there because he cares for them
more than for his salary.
Trust can only come if the shepherds are good models,
living what they teach,
showing the way by the way they live, act, and love.
Double messages, whereby a person does not live
what they say,
Real shepherds give of themselves freely;
their love and caring communicate life to those
who are weaker
Jesus loves us abundantly and wants to give us
all we need to grow in wisdom
and greater human and spiritual maturity.
Being a good shepherd does not mean being perfect,
for no one is perfect.
Instead, it is being humble and open,
recognizing one’s faults and compulsions,
and asking for forgiveness when one has
not acted justly.
Jean Vanier is the founder of L’Arche, an international network of communities for the developmentally disabled.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (10:1-10)
Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom (2 Cor 3:17).
“Life could not exist in the primal waters of chaos. By his passage through the tomb, Christ has tamed the waters of death and transformed them into the waters of life, from which a new world is reborn in baptism. Our Good Shepherd leads us to these waters to drink our fill of his peace.”
– Magnificat, Apr 23, 2018
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.
Holy Family pray for us … Amen.