The Good Shepherd

Reflection for the 4th Sunday of Easter by FAN Board Member, Sister Marge Wissman, OSF

This reflection was originally posted in our April 19th newsletter

The purpose of this Sunday’s gospel is to expand the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd beyond the parish priest or pastor to every Christian and church leader. The actual word ‘pastor’ is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘shepherd.’ In this gospel we are offered both comfort and challenge. The comforting good news is that the Good Shepherd knows us, provides for us and loves us. The challenge is that we are called to be good shepherds to those entrusted to our care. When introducing himself as the Good Shepherd, Jesus makes three claims: first, his sheep recognize his voice, second, an emphasis on this self sacrificing life – “the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, and third, his deep desire that many other sheep follow him – “There are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well.”

I was once part of a justice group called Pastors for Peace. When asked about the name, the founder of the group, Rev. Lucius Walker, said we are all pastors in the eyes of the people we serve. So Jesus shares his life of being a Good Shepherd with us. Everyone entrusted with the care of others is a Good Shepherd. We are a good shepherd by loving those entrusted to us, praying for them, spending our time and talents for their welfare, and guarding them from physical and spiritual dangers. Who are the people to whom you are a good shepherd? At the time that I am writing this reflection, I am also formulating a letter to send to an immigration judge and lawyer. It is on behalf of someone who is trying desperately to get a green card to remain in the United States with her husband and children. I feel that I am a good shepherd to her. Use this example to think of people for whom you are the good shepherd.

This Good Shepherd Sunday is celebrated after Holy Week when Jesus was put to death by the High Council. And then to their dismay and wonderment Jesus rises and is with us again on Easter Sunday. It is testimony to the truth that God’s plan will prevail. Even if they reject this stone, it will still become the cornerstone that will one day be recognized. But the rejection of Jesus and his followers will not alter God’s plan. The ultimate goal is to have one flock under one shepherd. It will be accomplished by Jesus laying down his life for all his sheep.

Sister Marge Wissman, OSF
FAN Board Member

Published in: on April 20, 2021 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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