The Good Shepherd
You know a good teacher from how they interact and take charge of their students. They know when it is time to learn, meaning silence except for questions and the lesson. They also know when it's time for the students to learn from each other, whether that be group work, break time, even recess. A good teacher is always aware of who is missing, who is leaving early, and who still has to bring in money for that one pizza order. Many could compare a good teacher with a good shepherd, watching over their sheep, and always aware of where they are, how they are and caring for them.
Today's Gospel states:'I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd' (John 10:11-16). Here, we hear about how God is like the shepherd, knowing our every move, even before we make it, always looking out for us. We are like the sheep, always trying to flee, not knowing what is best and so exercising our free will by sometimes straying from our path, from our shepherd.
God is a shepherd, but then is also like this teacher, and we the students. God knows everything in the past, present, and future, through all time and we are always seeking understanding because it's so much more than we could ever comprehend. Our task should be to be like students, to seek the truth God has in store for us, to experience the true joy in life and not using our freedom to flee in the opposite direction. We have so much to learn, but through prayer, attending mass, and seeking God in our everyday lives, we again become part of the flock that is God's people, and what could be more joyful than that?
Today's prayer comes from 'Family Novena', part of the Novena to the Good Shepherd:
LORD, you are my shepherd;
nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where you give me repose.
Near restful waters you lead me
to revive my drooping spirit.
You guide me along the right path;
you are true to your name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.
You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the LORD’S own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.