Fourth Sunday of Easter Gospel Reading: John 10:11-18
Jesus said ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep. 1 am the good shepherd; 1 know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and 1know the Father; and 1 lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep 1 have that are not of this fold, and these 1 have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd. The Father loves me, because 1lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; 1 lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command 1 have been given by my Father.’
“……the hired man, since he is not the shepherd….and has no concern for the sheep…”
Have you ever experienced ”being had” by someone you thought was genuine and then feeling abandoned and let down when the truth came out?
Lord forgive us for finding it so easy to follow “the hired man ” especially in our age of social media. Many of us “follow” on face book and twitter only to be confused and let down by “fake news “. We are often left with a sense of loneliness and hurt. Our desire for deep relationship is truly found with the good shepherd. Help us Lord to discern wisely whom to follow. Lord help us to follow you more nearly, to know you more clearly and to love you more dearly. Amen
“Lays down his life for his sheep”
Call to mind those ‘good shepherds’ who have made a commitment to dedicate their lives to their ‘sheep’, for example men and women working in the missions, priests and religious, those working for the homeless or pursuing any cause in the name of justice, self-sacrificing parents. Give thanks for their concern, dedication and generosity of spirit and pray that we will be open to their inspiration working in our lives.
‘these I have to lead as well’
Recall a time when you were tempted to exclude others because they were ‘different’, because they didn’t ‘fit in’ or were ‘awkward’ and it would have been easier for you to leave them out, for example, at a family or social gathering, in a group project. Reflect on decisions you have made in the past to exclude others for whatever reason and pray for the courage to recognise that ‘these I have to lead as well’.