The Risen One is the true and unique model of the ‘Good Shepherd’ who knows us all intimately by name and is the only One whose voice we can hear, whose familiar sound makes our heart beat. . .
Truly, I agree. It is important that one pays attention and never let the distracting noises of the world muffle the voice of the Good Shepherd. It happens all too easily, and when one is not vigilant, it is so easy to start listening to the suggestions of the evil one. Recall the scenes in Mel Gibson’s superb movie ‘The Passion’ and you will be able to see in your mind’s eye the many occasions when the evil one seems to glide by, with that devilish look that threatens to make one lose control. There is the attempt to constantly throw one off guard with confusing ideas, with some truths and many lies so that one, uncertain of the word of God, then begins to fumble and grope in the dark.
How true then that the Good Shepherd tells us that His sheep know His voice and listen only to Him. But we sheep, as the late Fr Hallinan shared with me, are a stupid lot. He mentioned that if a sheep should overturn, it would not be able to get back on its feet. So, if the shepherd does not come and put it back on its feet again, the chances of the sheep being frozen to death would be most likely. There are, unfortunately, many stubborn and strong willed sheep who like to go their own way. They suddenly seem to have many ideas of their own and in their folly, they go astray, they get lost in the mist, and they do all the things they ought not to do.
When we read Ezekiel 34, we see how our Lord Himself says that He will personally tend His sheep and let them rest. He will search for the lost and lead back the strays. He will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. So deep, so unconditional, so personal is the love of the Good Shepherd for us all!
Today the priest in the Mass I attended said in no uncertain terms how stupid some sheep are. We prefer to go our own ways and continue to sin. But for the love of our Good Shepherd, where would we be? So we really need to follow the guidance of the Good Shepherd – to listen and to obey. If we don’t we will fall off the cliff…one stupid sheep will move ahead, go astray and get hurt…another stupid sheep may follow and also suffer the same terrible consequences. If we want to be clever sheep, we have to stay focussed and look to the Good Shepherd to lead us to green pastures. It is the Good Shepherd who will show us the path of life, life in abundance, life to the full.