“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.” (John 10:27-30)
I don't know much about sheep. My only encounters with them have been in parks that used to be farms, where a few animals are kept so children (and adults) can see them. My understanding though is that sheep are not particularly bright animals (if someone knows differently, feel free to correct me on this) and therefore truly do need a shepherd to guide them.
Today's Gospel reminds us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
What does that mean to us?
Are we like sheep that blindly follow whoever might be around to lead us?
Well, we are, kind of - as hard as that is to accept.
Think of the 'shepherds' who are out there willing to lead the flock.
There's the entertainment industry, the 'Madison Avenue' types who write the ads, there are people who preach that the only good is secular, and people who preach hate for those who aren't made in the same mold as they are.
We need to watch who we follow.
Jesus is there, waiting for us to follow him. If we listen, we do know his voice. And he knows us. He wants us to follow him, he wants to lead us to His Father. But hHe can't make us follow him. It has to be our choice.
Sometimes it looks like the other shepherds would be easier to follow. It is easier to conform to a secular culture than to live a religious life. But the easy way is not the way to God. Jesus is the way to God. He told us that. He will lead us there, if we chose to follow.
He is the Good Shepherd - the one we should follow. It shouldn't be hard to remember that, but sometimes it is.
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