In today’s Gospel, Jesus reveals that He is the Good Shepherd who came to us — His people — who were like sheep without a shepherd, always being threatened by the wolves in the desert, and so need someone who cares such that He even gave up His life for us. He calls not only to the children of Israel, but also to all those who are far from Him including those who have gone astray.
I’ve always appreciated the metaphor that Jesus uses, relating to the small flocks prevalent in His time. Each flock was then looked after by a shepherd who knew the sheep individually, such that when “the sheep hear his voice, the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (Jn. 10: 3) It tells us of Jesus desire to have a personal relationship with us, just like the personal relationship that the shepherd shares with his sheep. This Sunday of the Good Shepherd, this particular Gospel reaches deep into our own hearts and minds.
Just this weekend I had the privilege of visiting my Mom after a long while. Reminiscing the memories shared in childhood with family is one of the better things to do when going to the place we’ve since called home. There’s a tinge of sadness as she’s affected with memory loss, possibly the effect of surgery she underwent before. She remembers only when reminded, but in her condition I feel she is happy and is hardly sad. She hums a happy tune when she is by herself, and it’s always a joy and a blessing to have my sisters taking that enviable role of being near Mom these days. It’s a love that only daughters could share with a mother, though sons also have the same love demonstrated differently. And yet, that love we give to our own family and to others, is only a bit compared to the love that Jesus gives us.
Being our God and Creator, Jesus knows our true self completely, knowing us in a way we may not even know ourselves. Just like the shepherd calling his own sheep by name, yet unlike other connections, in our relationship with Jesus nothing is not known to him. That is why, when we get to know Jesus more, we slowly know ourselves better as He also reveals to us our true selves.
On this occasion of the Good Shepherd Sunday, let us pray fervently that in due time, we may have life and have it more abundantly.
“I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.” (Jn. 10: 14)