This is the Sunday when the Church encounters Jesus as ‘The Good Shepherd’. Historically, the image of the ‘shepherd’ had been used for and by kings, prophets and priests. However, their self-serving and faithless service usually brought the nation to its knees.
Unlike the majority of leaders who had gone before him, Jesus presents as ‘The Good Shepherd’ who cares for his sheep and knows them all by name. Sheep can recognise a voice they trust and know, and still in Palestine today, when shepherds issue their distinctive calls, the sheep withdraw from their shared pasture to follow their own shepherd home.
There are stories emerging from survivors of the Coronavirus, about how the calm and soothing voices of trusted nurses and doctors kept them fighting when they felt like giving up. For those who have lost their battle for life on this earth, we give thanks that the trusted voice of ‘The Good Shepherd’ guides them home to eternal life.
Today we celebrate Jesus’s love for each and every one of us. We trust his voice and give thanks that he knows us all by name. We also celebrate all those ‘trusted voices’ in our communities who have supported us and provided for us through this health crisis. Let us pray together that their selfless, faithful devotion, commitment and love will never be forgotten.