We celebrate the Second Sunday after Easter. This day was traditionally referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. As a result, we study our Lord as the Good Shepherd in this lesson using the catechism and the saints as our guide. Finally, after understanding the many parts of this metaphor, we will understand its implications for our lives as Catholics.
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INTROIT Psalms 32: 5, 6The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, alleluia, alleluia.—(Ps. 32. 1). Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: praise is comely for the upright. V.: Glory to the Father …—The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord …
We as Catholics are familiar with the imagery in today's Gospel. In fact imagery of Christ as the Good Shepherd dates back to the catacombs of Rome before Christianity was legalized. Before we study it, let us again read it:
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.
In this account we contemplate the unending love of Our Lord—He didn't just create us but He also died for us. God didn't need us. He is everything good and beautiful, but He created us by His own hands and gave us life. But, after this, He didn't stop. He gave up His life for His flock. He gave up everything He had to show us His love for us. The only thing important in life is to serve Christ, who loved us first while we were still sinners and separated from His love.
There are three parts of the image of the Good Shepard.
1. He carries lost sheep back on his shoulders
2. He leads his flock to green pastures
3. He guards his flock with a staff to death if needed.
St. Vincent Ferrer eloquently summarizes the four ways in which Christ, the Blessed Shepherd, shows His love towards the Christian Faithful, namely his flock:
First reason, because he buys the sheep dearly [pretiose], Second, because he keeps them carefully, Third, because he feeds them abundantly, and Fourth, because he guards them safely.
On the first point, St. Vincent states:
I say first that Christ as the good shepherd buys his sheep at a great price [pretiose], namely by the price of his blood. He does not get them by stealth or stealing, or by deception, but he buys them for a just price and then some. About this he speaks in the beginning of the gospel, "I am the good shepherd," (Jn 10:14). Reason, because "The good shepherd gives his life," that is his bodily life, "for his sheep," (v. 11). Reason: why he gives... Please purchase this lesson to continue learning.
Second Sunday after Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) is part of the following course(s):