Gospel Reflection Apr 25 – Deacon Frank
Sunday, April 25
Fourth Sunday of Easter
John 10: 11-18
“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.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why 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 on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”
The fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally called Good Shepherd Sunday. Since our church building was dedicated in 1991, whenever we come into Saint Brigid, we cannot avoid the beautiful “Thou Shepherd, Jesu, Be My Shield” mural. However, most Christians who may have never walked into our church, have also grown up with the stained-glass image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, carrying the lost lamb on his shoulders. It is a comforting, reassuring image we reiterate every time we repeat the Twenty-third Psalm.
But how many of us have honestly ever identified ourselves with that lamb and the reasons why the lamb got lost in the first place? We like to describe ourselves as “strong as an ox,” or as “gentle as a dove,” or as “courageous as a lion” … but few of us would choose to compare ourselves with a sheep. And yet that is how the Bible describes us, all of us, and thus we need a shepherd, a Good Shepherd, who is willing to lay down his life, not for just the strong, gentle, courageous, and saintly people of the world only, but for unintelligent, wandering, fall–over–the–cliff again and again, sheep. It was for sheep that he died. While we were yet helpless sheep, He gave his life for our life.
This is the whole story of Good Shepherd.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino