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Good Shepherd Sunday


We hear Jesus say today as part of this Gospel :

“And there are other sheep I have

that are not of this fold,

and these I have to lead as well.

They too will listen to my voice,

and there will be only one flock,

and one shepherd.”


Jesus could well have been referring to us as gentiles in this piece of scripture. In some ways this would be the easiest explanation. However, I think that it’s much bigger, I think it refers to all of humanity and all faiths. We as Catholics are very blessed to have an uninterrupted heritage in that we can trace our faith back to the Apostles and therefore to Jesus. I think what Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel is that faiths that appear to us to be perhaps almost enemies will ultimately be part of the one flock & respond to the same Shepherd. The fact that most faiths are based on God, perhaps by a different name but still understanding the all-powerful then it is actually easy to see how short of a journey it can be to one faith. Our experience in Northern Ireland is in many ways typical of what can happen. The difference between Catholic & Protestant became politicised. It made our differences seem as if we were worlds apart, however our faith is so similar, that the potential for a reunification is almost palatable. The fact that many Anglicans actually took that step including their priests just shows what is possible.


We see the Islamic faiths as being very different from us today and again like the situation that we had in Northern Ireland there has been a politicising of our differences. However, if we allow ourselves to take a closer look there is much potential for unity. One of the key connections for me is the devotion to Our Lady of Muslim women in particular. Mary is viewed by Muslims as possibly the most righteous woman to have ever lived. She is obviously seen as a role model for life. There is perhaps much to be learned from other faiths as well.


We are asked to pray for vocations today as part of Good Shepherd Sunday. Perhaps we could pray for something we have never asked God for before, can we pray for vocations to all faiths. Vocations that will bring leaders that will ultimately unite us all in one flock, with one Shepherd.


Lord thank you for the faith we have been given, thank you for the vocations that have allowed us to receive your precious Body & Blood today. Amen





Gospel

John 10:11-18

The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep

Jesus said:

‘I am the good shepherd:

the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.

The hired man, since he is not the shepherd

and the sheep do not belong to him,

abandons the sheep and runs away

as soon as he sees a wolf coming,

and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;

this is because he is only a hired man

and has no concern for the sheep.

‘I am the good shepherd;

I know my own

and my own know me,

just as the Father knows me

and I know the Father;

and I lay down my life for my sheep.

And there are other sheep I have

that are not of this fold,

and these I have to lead as well.

They too will listen to my voice,

and there will be only one flock,

and one shepherd.

‘The Father loves me,

because I lay down my life

in order to take it up again.

No one takes it from me;

I lay it down of my own free will,

and as it is in my power to lay it down,

so it is in my power to take it up again;

and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’

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