|Andrew Hurley ’95
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is sometimes called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the gospel passage reminds us that Jesus is our shepherd. The shepherd is an important metaphor for our savior in the Gospels. One of the most humble professions of Jesus’ day becomes a figure of Jesus’ care for us.
It might seem like an unflattering comparison to think of ourselves as sheep but today’s gospel speaks to the intimacy and trust between the shepherd and the sheep: “I know mine and mine know me,” Jesus says. Like humble sheep, when we hear the shepherd’s voice we trust and we follow.
As I meditated on this passage, I remembered the infancy narrative in the Gospel of Luke. Angels appear to shepherds to announce the birth of Christ (2:8-20). They are the first to hear the Good News of the incarnation, despite the fact of their lowly status– or perhaps because it. They are awestruck by this announcement and they obediently and joyfully make their way to Bethlehem to visit the infant. When they depart, “the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.” They were the first to preach the Good News.
When I hold these two passages together, I see that Jesus is a shepherd to us and we are his shepherds to the world. We might not think of ourselves as worthy of this task, but Luke’s shepherds show us that we must announce the arrival of the one Good Shepherd even if we feel unqualified. We shepherd our families, our communities, and our professions towards the Lord. We must be bold like shepherds and humble like sheep.
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