April 17, 2016: Fourth Sunday of Easter
Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.” (John 10:27-30)
Earlier in this gospel, Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd. We are the sheep he knows, guides, cares for, guards and loves. If we listen, we hear him and follow him safely.
Do you live in the country? Or were you active in 4-H? Then maybe it is easy for you to picture Jesus as a shepherd because you know a little about sheep, or at least have seen them up close!
If you are a city person, maybe it is harder. But here is another way to relate. Have you lived with a companion animal, perhaps a dog or cat? You take care of them, feed them, spend time with them. And if they are lost, you look everywhere and worry about them and want to find and bring them safely back home. I once had a kitten that got outside and disappeared. I looked everywhere and was heart-sick that something bad had happened to him. Three days later, there he was a block away, in the top branches of a big tree, probably chased there by neighborhood dogs. Eventually tuna enticed him down, he was carried back home, and never left the yard again.
I think about stories of animals and consider what they tell me about how Jesus loves us. I thank him for his promise always to guide, lead and protect me on the journey of my life. I ask him to help me hear and follow his voice.