The Good Shepherd leads us to freedom

By Glen Argan

Relationship. That is the key to the Good Shepherd. In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” We follow Jesus because he knows us and because we trust him.

So often, our image of God gets distorted into seeing God as Commander in Chief. This god relates to us through rules and policies, and he establishes a massive administration to ensure his control reaches to every corner of the world. What a dreary portrayal of the God who is love!

Sheep1This picture could not be further from the truth. Jesus is God’s Son who leaves behind all power and status to live with us in poverty. To live with us. He shares our joys and sorrows. He knows us.

Jean Vanier, who died May 7, wrote, “Shepherds are the ones who lead those who have been entrusted to them to inner freedom – the freedom to make good choices, to take initiative, and to grow to greater maturity and love.” Good shepherds establish mutual trust and have no desire to control or manipulate.

These good shepherds treat their “sheep” as people created for eternal life. What does “eternal” mean? Not only are we created to live forever and ever, but we are also created to participate in the life of God. We are created to love and be loved as the three persons of God love and are loved. Wholly, deeply, ecstatically.

The question for us is, will we trust the Good Shepherd? Will we be good shepherds too? Will we endeavour to lead others to inner freedom?

Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 12, 2019
Acts 13.14, 43-52 | Psalm 100 | Revelation 7.9, 14b-17 | John 10.27-30

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