Jesus, the Good Shepherd
Jesus Takes Care Of Us in the Eucharist
Jesus told everyone:
I am the devoted shepherd who would give his life up for his sheep. I love my sheep. And I will lay my life down for them so I can take it back up again. Because of this, my Father loves me.
Based on John 10:11, 17
Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
When Jesus was alive, shepherds lived a hard life. During the day, a shepherd usually lived alone with his flock, leading them from pasture to water and back. At night he placed them in a sheep pen for rest with other flocks. At night while the sheep slept, he and other shepherds would take turns guarding the flocks from thieves and wolves.
Because sheep could easily be distracted and lost, a shepherd had a responsibility to find sheep separated from the flock.
Jesus told his followers:
"What do you think? Once there was a man with a hundred sheep in his flock. One of them got lost. Wouldn't he go and find the lost sheep? Wouldn't he be happier if he found it than he if knew the other ninety nine sheep were safe?"
Based on Matthew 18:12-13
Like the devoted shepherd, God takes care of his people, even those who lose their way. He sent us Jesus to find the lost, and lead them back to the Father.
One With Jesus at Mass
Again, Jesus told the people:
The sheep of my flock hear me calling them. I know each of them and they all follow me. I give them a life with God that will never end, so they won't be lost when times get tough. No one can take them out of my care. My Father gave me all my followers. He is greater than everything. No one can take them out of my Father's care.
My Father and I are one.
Based on John 10:27-30
Jesus calls us together with him, so he can give us a life with God, his very life. This becomes clear when we go to Mass on Sunday:
Jesus calls us to gather together and pray as the Church. He is there with us. ("Whenever two or three Christians come together in my name, I'll be there with them." Based on Matthew 18:20)
Next, Jesus is present when we hear the bishop, priest, or deacon read the Gospel to us.
Jesus is present when the bishop or priest represents our Lord on the altar. This is especially true when the bishop or priest prays for the Holy Spirit to come down on the bread and wine, and when he says the words "This is My Body" over the bread and "This is My Blood" over the wine. When this happens, the bread becomes the Body of Christ and the wine becomes the Blood of Christ. The Church calls this change "Transubstantiation." This means that Jesus is really present in the bread and wine, even though they still look and taste like bread and wine.
Finally, Jesus is really with us when we receive his "Body, Blood, soul, and divinity" in Communion.
"I am the living bread that comes down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.
I will offer my flesh up for the life of the world! Whoever gnaws on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. I will raise them from the dead on the last day. My flesh and blood are the only food and drink that really matter. Whoever gnaws on my flesh and drinks my blood is one with me, and I am one with him."
Based on John 6:51, 54-56
How does Jesus care for us, his flock? In Communion, he gives himself to us completely, totally. When times get tough, he will be there with us. He will give us the strength to say "No!" to the evil before us and "Yes" to the good that we can do for others. And, like the Good Shepherd, he will guide us safely to God the Father.
There is no one greater than God. Because Jesus is one with God the Father, we can be sure he will not fail us. He is the way to God!
I am the gate for the sheep! If anyone enters God's Kingdom through me, they will find God's life! They will go back and forth freely. And they will find pasture. The thief only comes to destroy my flock. But, I came to give life to my flock. God's life!
Based on John 10:9-10