Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Today’s Gospel continues the theme of the Good Shepherd that we heard on Sunday.  First, Jesus criticizes those who have not been good shepherds for the Jewish people.  Then, he outlines his own mission.

Jesus draw a contrast between himself and the “hired man…whose sheep are not his own.”  At the first sign of danger, the hired man abandons his sheep to save himself.  This man does what he does solely for the pay.  He has no care for the well-being of his flock.  It is not a vocation.  It is merely a job to pay his expenses.

 As the Good Shepherd, Jesus comes to lay down his life for his sheep.  He has other sheep outside of the Jewish fold, and he will lead these too.

Today, we can find other good shepherds in the Church.  Many of us had examples growing up.  My childhood pastor was one for me.  He was a great pastor for our parish.   He was the Baltimore priest that Bishop Galeone would admiringly tell stories about it.  He was also an Army Reserve chaplain who would manage to get a helicopter to fly over our school at recess at some point during his annual service (and even ended his service one year by having the helicopter land on our soccer field in front of the assembled students).  When he died prematurely, a blizzard left most roads impassable for the school’s memorial Mass the day before the funeral.  But the people could not be kept away.  An army of students and parents walked through the snow to pack the church well beyond capacity.

Who are the good shepherds that you most remember from your past?  Think of one.  What were his qualities?  Hopefully, great personal holiness.  Likely also approachability.  Perhaps great leadership.  He was almost certainly someone who clearly sacrificed himself for others.  A great preacher and/or teacher of the faith?  Perhaps, you felt like you knew Christ because you knew him.  Maybe he was someone who really knew how to bring others together.  He was likely someone who was there for you when you most needed it.  Maybe he was someone who showed you great kindness.

Think about those good shepherds that have gone to their eternal reward.  Pray that they might intercede for us today.  Pray for their intercession to help our current shepherds through this crisis and beyond.  And pray that they might help to inspire the shepherds of tomorrow.