Gospel: Jn 10:11-18
Jesus said: ”I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. Not so the hired hand, or any other person who is not the shepherd, and to whom the sheep do not belong. They abandon the sheep as soon as they see the wolf coming; then the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep. This is because the hired hand works for pay and cares nothing for the sheep.
”I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father. Because of this, I give my life for my sheep.
”I have other sheep which are not of this fold. These I have to lead as well, and they shall listen to my voice. Then there will be one flock, since there is one shepherd.
”The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down freely. It is mine to lay down and to take up again: this mission I received from my Father.”
A good shepherd is a powerful symbol of how Jesus cares for His own. It brings forth the sense of fierce tenderness, of worries and concern that goes beyond the idea of mere possession of that which one protects. It brings to fore the kind of self-investment whose foundation is love. It is no wonder that Jesus could give His life freely and without regret for His sheep.
This is a hard vocation to follow. How many of us is generous enough to remove the ”self” as the center of our life and put ”others” instead? It takes a highly evolved consciousness and spiritual strength to have the capacity to do this. Hence we need to learn from Jesus. We need to sit at His feet and progress towards selfless love. And so the Good Shepherd can multiply Himself only in those whose hearts are ready and brave.