Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Acts 11:1-18; John 10:11-18)
One may be a good shepherd in two senses. He is good if he always does what he knows to be right. He is also good if his shepherding is of high quality. Today’s gospel highlights both these senses of good.
Jesus’ shepherding excels because, first of all, he will stay with his sheep when danger appears. He will not, as he says of the hired hand, “leave(s) the sheep and run(s) away” in the presence of a wolf. Reflecting on these words, priest-martyr Blessed Stanley Rother stayed with the persecuted people he served in Guatemala. Also, Jesus shows his ability to shepherd by knowing his sheep. Like a teacher knows which of her students need attention and which work better alone, Jesus knows each sheep. Finally, Jesus is good in the sense that he gives his life for love of his sheep. Goodness certainly characterizes someone so generous. Again, Stanley Rother serves as an example. He was murdered by the military when he stood with his people.
We are the sheep that Jesus shepherds. He loves us collectively and individually. He provides the sacraments to move us along the road of sanctity. He also speaks to us personally in our hearts. We should not hesitate to call on him for help.