In this weeks Gospel account we hear about how we are known and loved as individuals by God. Jesus tells us about the love of the shepherd for his sheep. The sheep would listen to the voice of the shepherd and follow him, they will never be lost and never stolen.
Maybe we learn something about the simple life of the shepherds and their sheep, ironically in Luke’s Gospel they were the first who had the birth of Jesus revealed to them. What can we take from these accounts?
The sheep were loved and cared for by the Shepherd. Someone who would be with them and care for their needs.
The Shepherd would look after their sheep and guide them in the right direction.
The sheep at times may wander off and get distracted and lost but would listen to the voice of the Shepherd.
A few things strike me in this reflection.
To stay safe we need to listen for the voice of the Shepherd, living a life close to God.
We need to trust in the Shepherd and listen for His voice – even when we stray God wants the best for all of us and will seek us out.
We can be like the shepherd to those around us. As teachers and parents we have the opportunity to simply look out for our sons, daughters and students.
So let us all know, love and cherish those around us so that they live secure in God’s love.
In the current readings in the Gospel Jesus is teaching a lot about sheep and shepherds. In the Gospel reading this on Sunday it described the care a shepherd gives to their sheep and said that if it was a hired shepherd when danger, or the wolf, arrives they literally “run for the hills”!
In the Bible it talks about the Good Shepherd calling each of the sheep by name, looking out for them and keeping them safe. It is not simply someone “doing their job” but a deep rooted care for the safety, care and well-being of the flock around them.
In education we are called to go beyond being the “hired hand” to know, love and cherish every person we are responsible for. At the heart of this is the belief that it is important that every person in our community feels and knows that they are “known and loved” as an individual.
Jesus is also known as the “Good Shepherd” and seeks us out to bring us back to God in some way. In other teaching He talks about the rejoicing of when we are “lost and found” and how God seeks us out when we head in the wrong direction.
So although our lives may seem very different to the shepherds on the hills at the time of Jesus maybe there is plenty we can learn from them.
Help us listen out for God’s call for us – whatever this may be. We hope that we will be blessed by being happy and fulfilled in whatever we do.
Challenge us to remember the deeper meaning of all we do – we aren’t just here to fill the day or pay the bills but our work in education and serving young people has a profound and deep meaning.
May we seek out those who are lost or need to be kept safe by us in all we do – we remember especially relationships we find challenging or young people who need the security, love and protection of being part of the St Paul’s family.
We hope, that with God’s help, we can be great shepherds in all we do.
At times in our lives we can feel “lost” in some way. What might make us feel like this?
Feeling disconnected from those we love or care about most.
Being so busy that we don’t have the time to breath or stop to think.
Not having a clear sense of purpose or direction.
All of these factors, and others, can have a negative effect on our sense of calm, happiness or wellbeing. Like any relationship, if neglected, our relationship with God can become distant and detached in some way.
We hear this week in the Gospel account about how Jesus us like the shepherd loving and caring for his sheep. He knows them by name and they listen to, and trust him. Ultimately they are safe in His care and close to God.
Perhaps sheep are not renowned as the brightest animals. The Priest at Church this week talked about how they can get stuck on their back and find it impossible to get back on their feet. I’ve even found evidence of this online… perhaps with that gentle and loving hand of faith we too can get back to our feet and get back on track in life.
What can we take from this account?
However far from God we feel in our lives we are challenged to listen for God’s voice.
God knows us and call us by name – the challenge is to find the space to listen and understand his plan for each of us.
The image of the shepherd is one of sacrifice and unconditional love. At times the shepherd will endure suffering and risk in order to protect and care fro the sheep. This reflects God’s love and care for us too.
If we want to live fulfilling lives as Christians today we need to ensure those around us feel our support and love unconditionally. It is only then that we can be truly “found” and inspired by God’s love.