The Gospel according to John (10:11-18)
Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why 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 on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”
The shepherd keeps the sheep in view and the sheep learn to trust the shepherd. I ask God for the humility I need, that I might listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd, allowing him to lead me and trusting that he is leading others too – even if in ways I don’t understand.
Push Ups and Pull Ups. This reminds me of a motto that is used at Mary’s Village (Men Transitional Facility for men that were incarcerated, homeless, and marginalized). When I first heard this, my immediate thought was that if the men did something such as breaking the rules, then they would have to do push-ups and pull ups … WRONG!
What this means that when the men have their daily meetings with each other and staff, they can voluntarily Push Up a fellow brother by praising something he did. It could be something as lending an ear to allow someone to vent. And when a man needs assistance with something, for instance staying away from the wolves, then you volunteer to do a Pull Up by taking the time to assist their brother. So, a Pull Up is easily defined as a “Helping Hand”. Sounds easy right? Well, it’s not for a bunch of rough guys that are used to fending for themselves not because it was their choice but because they were forced to due to survival on the streets and jails/prisons.
What if we took on that slogan in society? What if we did this at work or church and definitely at home? This world would be a much better place.
Beware of the wolves (evil) that is out there or becoming a wolf through sin. As wolves, we deny our call to be images of God and we prey on the sheep. That is, we fail to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Instead, let’s look at the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who images the person we should become. The Good Shepherd stays with the flock and offers us Push-Ups and Pull Ups all day long. We do not tremble in fear because He is with us. He lays down His life so that we may live forever. And even when this life ends, the sheep are confident that they will live forever in His presence. The pledge of that promise is attending Mass, and receiving the Bread of Life and Cup of Blessing we share that brings us together as one flock.
Action of the Day: Seek people that you see every day, strangers included, figure how you can be their shepherd.