The life of a shepherd probably isn’t very different today from what it was in the time of Christ. We might have a romantic idea of the shepherd strolling through the fields with his flock, but in reality, it’s a hard and exhausting job. The shepherd is out in all weathers, caring for the sheep and keeping them safe from danger.
Jesus describes himself as a good shepherd, who knows his sheep, and calls them one by one. Unlike the leaders of Israel in his own time, who exploited their positions for their own power and advantage, Jesus’ concern is for the sheep – his disciples. His desire is for the sheep to have life to the full.
Today is Good Shepherd Sunday, when the Church prays for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. Pope Francis says in his message for today, “The People of God need to be guided by pastors whose lives are spent in service to the Gospel.” The pastors and ministers of the Church are called to model themselves on Christ, the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep by name and keeps them safe. Let us pray for many young people to respond to the challenging call of Christ.