April 25, 2023
This coming Sunday (the fourth of Easter) is traditionally called, by some Christians, “Good Shepherd Sunday”. The Risen Lord, in the Gospel of John (10:11,14), declares himself the Good Shepherd. But what exactly is Jesus revealing? Having little experience with shepherds and sheep, the analogy may seem distant and abstract for many of us.
Well, we at least know that a shepherd is a sort of care-taker. Jesus takes care of us. And the more caring, the “gooder”, the better! Indeed, Jesus goes to loving extremes in caring for us. As Saint John says (10,11), the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Now, ought not the Eucharist, a guaranteed encounter with Jesus, reveal to us something about Him as our Good Shepherd? I would venture to say “yes”. Indeed, listen to what Saint Peter Julian Eymard, a French Catholic priest, who died in 1868 (founder of two religious communities: the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament for men and the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament for women) says about Jesus in His care-taking:
Is not our Lord as meek and humble in the Blessed Sacrament as He was during His life on earth? Is He not always the Good Shepherd, the Divine Consoler, the Changeless Friend? Happy the soul that knows how to find Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and in the Eucharist all things!
The relationship between sheep and the Good Shepherd is one of intimacy and safety. Let us rejoice in being sheep! Our Risen Lord knows where He is leading us: to verdant pastures, where He gives us repose for our souls. Let us follow in faith, hope and love…
THE REV. DOMINIQUE PERIDANS