Good Shepherd

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday and the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

When we think of the Good Shepherd, we often picture our Lord with his shepherd’s staff, leading his flock in an idyllic setting. However, in today’s Gospel, he says that he is the “sheep gate.” You would have to know a little bit about shepherding back in the days of Christ.

When night came, all of the shepherds would bring the sheep to one location, and they would all get mixed in together. One of the shepherds was chosen to the be guard, or the “gate.” He would physically lie down at the entrance to the area set off for the sheep. No one or no animals could pass through without having to go over him. It was a dangerous job, but one that was very necessary to protect the sheep from predatory animals or from those who would come and steal the sheep.

When Jesus talked of himself as being the sheep gate, he was emphasizing the fact that is here to protect us. He will not let anyone come to take us away, and he tries his best to make sure that we do not leave the flock.

In the morning, the shepherds would release the sheep from the area, and they would call or whistle to their own flock. The sheep would recognize their particular shepherd’s voice or whistle, and they would follow him. Let us keep our ears open for the voice of our Shepherd and follow him.

Also today, let us pray that the Lord will call many of our young people to be shepherds in the ministry. Let us pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

The Concho Padre

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