Word for the Weekend: Good Shepherd Sunday

A shepherd today in Romania

Every year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the gospel offers an image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.  This day, then, is offered called Good Shepherd Sunday.

For the scriptures of the day and brief commentary on them, look here.  If you're shepherding some young sheep to Mass this weekend, look here for help in preparing them to hear God's Word in the scriptures.

This year the gospel is from John who reminds us of how the Good Shepherd knows each of his sheep by name and protects them from thieves and robbers. In this passage, Jesus refers to himself as "the gate."  Now, that's an interesting title!

Here's a picture of what Jesus is talking about, followed by an explanation.

Image source

Sheepfolds, even to this day, offer a nighttime enclosure and protection for the flock.  An opening in the wall allows the shepherd to herd his flock to their pen at day's end but often there's no gate to ensure that the sheep stay put and no harm intrudes.  In fact, the shepherd sleeps right there and so, the shepherd is the gate...

So Jesus said again,
"Amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved
and will come in and go out and find pasture..."


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