Good Shepherd Sunday
The Liturgy today sums up in the gentle figure of the Good Shepherd all the Jesus has done for our souls. The shepherd is everything to his flock; their life, their sustenance, and their care is entirely in his hands, and if the shepherd is good, they will have nothing to fear under his protection, and they will want for nothing.
Jesus Christ is preeminently the Good Shepherd: He not only loves, feeds, and guards His sheep, but He also gives them life – at the cost of His own. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God comes to earth in search of men who, like stray sheep, have wandered away from the sheepfold and have become lost in the dark valley of sin. He comes as a most loving Shepherd Who, in order to take better care of His flock, is not afraid to share their lot. Today’s Epistle (1 Pet. 2.21-25) shows Him to us as He takes our sins upon Himself that may heal us by His Passion: Who His own self bore our sins in His Body upon the tree that we, being dead to sin, should live to justice; by Whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls (1 Pet. 2.24-25).
The Savior said, I am the Good Shepherd, and I give my life for my sheep, and in Church’s Divine Office for Paschal time His ministers chant many times: “The Good Shepherd is risen, He who gave His life for his sheep and Who died for His flock.” What could be a better synthesis of the whole work of the Redemption? It seems still more wonderful when we hear the Good Shepherd declare: I am come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly (Jn. 10.10). In truth, He could well repeat to each one of us: What more could I have done for you that I have not done? (Is. 5.4). Would that our generosity in giving ourselves to Him had no limits, after the pattern of His own liberality in giving Himself to us.