Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 6-7, 2017
There tends to be little need for shepherds in Abingdon. Nor have I seen any sheep wandering around Bel Air. However, Jesus’ audience knew well the customs and terms of shepherding. Yet we need to know what they knew to understand the Good Shepherd analogy.
Flocks of sheep were found roaming the hillsides of Judea. At sundown, several flocks may be gathered within one stone walled pen for their safety. The shepherds would take turns guarding the sheep until morning. At that time each shepherd would call his sheep. The sheep knew their master’s voice from all others. The flock would then follow their shepherd to another day of grazing.
Some smaller pens would have no gate but only an opening from which the flock would enter and exit. At those times, the shepherd literally became the gate. He was all that stood between the dangers of the night and his flock.
Our Good Shepherd calls to us. Through all the other voices in our life we know His voice. It is the one of love and mercy. Shall we follow Him?
He will lead us to a place of peace. He will protect us from the evils of this world and beyond. He will and did sacrifice His life for our salvation. What better shepherd could there be for a flock? None.
Yet to have this Good Shepherd be the leader of our life it is up to us. Our freedom of choice allows us to ignore His calling or follow other voices. Yet even if we do, this shepherd will search us out and welcome us back to the flock.
Listen to the voice of Jesus and follow.
~ Patrick J. Perkins