Today we celebrate the feast of the “Good Shepherd.” We celebrate the Shepherd who leads us to safety when we’re in danger, gives us clarity when we get confused, rescues us when we get lost, binds our wounds when we get injured from life, comforts us when we become weary from the struggles of life, strengthens us when we become weak and gathers us to Himself when life becomes too overwhelming. It’s this Shepherd’s voice we hear throughout the Gospels. It’s the voice of compassion and understanding, wisdom and guidance, strength and courage, love and sacrifice. Yes, it was the Shepherd that loved so deeply as to lay down his life for his sheep.
As I think back on my life, I see many “good shepherds” who have loved me and guided me through difficult moments in my life. Certainly, my parents shepherded me with their goodness and faith. They have made me feel safe and secure with their love. I also think about teachers, coaches, neighbors on my block who shepherded me when I was a child. They were not only loving to me but also built me up so that I would be a strong Shepherd one day. We have all been given Shepherds in our lives to show us the way. They have been our gift and it would be nice to take some time to remember them this week and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the goodness they brought to our lives. We also may look at who we are called to shepherd in our life right now. Who is looking up to us for direction, compassion, and strength? Are we fulfilling our role to be a good shepherd to the younger ones among us? We live in a world where there are many thieves and marauders. Can we be the good shepherds our children need?