Sunday, April 22, 2012

Good Shepherd Sunday

"The Lost Sheep" by Alfred Soord

It never ceases to amaze me that even when I don't post on this blog, I still average 100 to 150 hits a day.  Isn't that wild??  Have no worries, though...  I haven't gotten any kind of swelled head about it. My Sitemeter and Blogger stats are very clear that the chief reason I have so many visitors is because I have so many pictures.  A large majority of my "hits" come from Google images -- and a large majority of those searches are for images of the Good Shepherd.  In fact, to date, I've had 24, 856 page views of this image-laden article since I posted it in April, 2010; I've had 210 views of that page just today -- and it's not even noon yet.  

This is very gratifying.

Not that so many people are coming to my wee humble blog (though I do love that!), but that so many people are looking for images of the Good Shepherd!

We hear so much about the evils of the internet and the searches that are made for unwholesome topics, that it's balm to my wounded Catholic sensibilities that there are also many many good-hearted people thinking of Faith and Goodness and Mercy and Salvation here on the world wide web, and looking for ways to illustrate it.  Father said in his sermon today that images of Christ as the Good Shepherd, though always popular, were especially beloved by the earliest Christians -- those whose connection to Christ was most acutely personal and edgy with import because it carried with it the very real possibility of persecution and even martyrdom.

 I wonder if Christians today don't especially feel the need of this comforting analogy of Jesus' for some of the same reason.  We can imagine, our Good Shepherd reaching over the cliffs, not only for our own wayward hearts, but for the misled and obstinate hearts of our loved ones who have strayed.  Today, it's common in the Western world to call one's self Christian, but very few have the courage to really lead a Christian life, and those that do are considered backward -- at best.  And, in many places in the world are openly persecuted.   In an age where it's accepted as the norm for the sheep to walk right into the fires of immorality or slip off the cliffs of apathy,  many of us find emotional survival in the knowledge of  the Shepherd's steadfast love and care for us.  It keeps us going.  He keeps us going.

Thank-you, God.

Jesus knew exactly what he was doing when he pointed up to the sheep grazing in the hills the day He first taught this lesson.  He knew the image of the Shepherd caring for His sheep would remain a comfort in our troubled world until the end of time.  I'm honored that this little corner of the web has had a very small piece in spreading this picture -- and its message.  Welcome to all Internet Travelers who've landed here today, looking for the Good Shepherd!

Happy Good Shepherd Sunday!

"The Good Shepherd" by William Dyce

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