Sunday, April 19, 2015

Good Shepherd Sunday

On the hills around Jerusalem and throughout the country, shepherds seldom drove their flocks of sheep.  They led them.  Each shepherd had his own whistle, which his sheep could hear from afar, and they would move toward him at once.  When shepherds met, their flocks intermingled so that even Solomon, in all his wisdom, would not have been able to separate them with justice.  When the shepherds parted, one whistled softly.  His sheep -- all his sheep and no others -- extricated themselves from the mass and followed him.  At a pool, a shepherd could order his sheep to wait.  No matter how thirsty, they would stand.  While drinking, if the shepherd saw another flock coming to the pool, he could order his charges to stop drinking and they would obey.  A sick lamb was always carried slung across the back of the shoulders with its belly close to the warmth of the shepherd's neck.  Small stone enclosures were set up for night counting of sheep.  The entrance would admit only one sheep at a time and the shepherd sat on the little wall and counted as they filed inside.

(The Day Christ Died by Jim Bishop; Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur 1957)

[1] Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. [2] But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. [3] To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. [4] And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. [5] But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.
[6] This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. [7] Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the gate of the sheep. [8] All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. [9] I am the gate. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. [10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.
[11] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. [12] But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: [13] And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. [14] I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. [15] As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.
[16] And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. [17] Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. [18] No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
(John 10: 1-18)

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