Good Shepherd Sunday
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
The Gospel of John 10: 22-30
At that time the festival of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the portico of Solomon. So, the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I have told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name testify to me; but you do not believe, because you do not belong to my sheep. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
Let us Pray: Holy God, you have called us to follow in the way of your risen Son, and to care for those who are our companions, not only with words of comfort, but with acts of love. Seeking to be true friends of all. Offering prayers on behalf of the church, all those who are suffering in the world. This we pray in the name of Jesus our Shepherd. Amen.
As you read and think about the words of the 23rd Psalm, what comes to your mind? The Psalm for Good Shepherd Sunday is the 23rd Psalm. If we let it, the 23rd Psalm can take us through chaos to a calming feeling of peaceful meadows and serene waters. Jesus the shepherd comes when we feel that we are lost, weary, restless, in darkness. By taking our conflicts and making them into opportunities we give God an opportunity to do wondrous things through us. As we move back to a somewhat sense of pre-pandemic life, the very essence of everyday life has changed before us. We still continue to be in unique and unsettled times. Where the world still sees hopelessness and despair, we can see Hope for the future. During this time, we are invited to continue to find God. We reflect on Psalm 23 and its implications for our lives, which we need to do now, more than ever. As John says in today’s Gospel: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.” As we pray Jesus does recognize our voice and calls us to join Him as a shepherd of His flock.
Once again, the Gospel presents us with people who are looking for a rational answer to the question of who Jesus is, a question that will satisfy them intellectually. Are we still looking for that same rational answer or are we able to believe and accept who Jesus is? We are reminded again to meet Jesus and hear his words with our hearts, not with our heads. We ask His help to help us to do so. As in the celebration of light we see Jesus as it’s center, are we blind to the mystery of Jesus as were the Jews of Jesus time or are we going to be a light as Jesus is and go into the world to spread His light or are we going to have blind spots and live in the darkness? As the sheep recognizes the voice of its shepherd, let us recognize the voice of our Shepherd, Jesus our guiding light.
Let us Pray: Jesus, good shepherd, you know each of us by name; you know us deeply and accept without blame our fears and anxieties, our doubts, and our questions. Please deepen in us the awareness of your presence and the opportunity to serve you in ways yet unimaginable. AMEN