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Today, we remember Christ as the Good Shepherd.
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.
What does it mean to know God in this way? How do sheep know their shepherd as children know their father?
The caretaker is known by experience. The caretaker does not pass through one’s life like a visitor, nor idly lingers from time to time. The good shepherd is always there; ever attentive, ever concerned, eager for the prosperity and vigor of his flock.
Our Lord is not an uninterested watchmaker, nor a distant ruler awaiting the time for tax collection. Rather, God is our constant companion, our present guardian, the ready hand to hold us upright.
We know the Lord if we look for Him and heed Him, like young children who may recklessly wander or by obedience be guided along joyful adventures. As a child can be oblivious to love and to assistance, so we can become oblivious.
Strangely, not all people are artists or photographers. Two can see a vista and one is fascinated, the other bored; one is opened, the other unchanged. Similarly, a loving guardian can seem a captor or a friend, or be forgotten. The subject becomes an object; foreground becomes background, a stranger on the periphery.
Look for the Good Shepherd. The Lord is with you, always.Published in