Gospel Reflection for 4th Sunday of Easter
As I write this reflection, I feel under the weather. My main focus this weekend has been resting and catching up on sleep. Resting is hard for both my mind and my body because I am typically always thinking and doing something. On this Good Shepherd Sunday, I grabbed a book off my bookshelf to learn more about how a shepherd interprets Psalm 23.
The author, Philip Keller, speaks of the 4 conditions sheep have before they can lay down:
free of fear
free of friction with others in the flock
free of aggravation from pests
free from hunger
The shepherd is the only one who can relieve the sheep from these anxieties. Keller writes how he claimed and laid down his life for his sheep:
"I recall quite clearly how in my first venture with sheep, the question of paying a price for my ewes was so terribly important. They belonged to me only by virtue of the fact that I paid hard cash for them. It was money earned by the blood and sweat and tears drawn from my own body during the desperate grinding years of the depression. And when I bought that first small flock I was buying them literally with my own body which had been laid down with this day in mind.
Because of this, I felt in a special way that they were in very truth a part of me and I a part of them. There was an intimate identity involved which though not apparent on the surface to the casual observer, nonetheless made those thirty ewes exceedingly precious to me.
But the day I bought them I also realized that this was but the first stage in a long, lasting endeavor in which from then on, I would, as their owner, have to continually lay down my life for them, if they were to flourish and prosper. Sheep do not "just take care of themselves" as some might suppose. They require more than any other class of livestock, endless attention and meticulous care."
I don't know what you are going through today as you read this, but know that the Good Shepherd has claimed you and knows you better than you know yourself. He knows you fully and completely. He not only brought you into the flock, but He also made you in His image. Yes, He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He knows you intimately. The question is: do you know Him?
We are halfway through the Easter season so I invite you to spend time with the Risen Christ today.
The images and songs below portray Christ as the Good Shepherd. Do you know Jesus in this way? How can you rest in the peace of Christ today even if only for a few minutes?
He wants you to know Him and allow Him to draw you nearer to His Heart. Spend some quality time in His arms today possibly discussing the following:
-- what scares you?
-- what relationships are particularly difficult?
-- what is aggravating you?
-- what are you hungry for?
"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." John 10:14-15
You are His. You are known. You are loved. You are carried.
Rest in that Truth today as you ask Our Lord to help you know Him.
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