Verdant Pastures: Christ the Good Shepherd
February 4th Readings Reflection: Saturday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel reading today begins with crowds thronging to see Jesus, preventing Him and His disciples from even eating. The Twelve Apostles have just returned from the mission Jesus had sent them on, two by two, preaching repentance and casting out demons. Jesus tells them to “[c]ome away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” The crowd, however, has other plans, arriving before Jesus and the Apostles do and preventing them from getting any rest. Rather than sending them away, Jesus has pity on the crowd, “for they were like sheep without a shepherd.”
A couple weeks ago, my family and I visited the Trapp Family Lodge, which is still a working farm in addition to a resort. They have cattle and sheep that live on the expansive grounds, and we had the privilege of witnessing the sheep at feeding time one afternoon. A car carrying a bale of hay drove toward the sheepfold, and immediately all the sheep became fixated on this car. This was their shepherd’s car, and the sheep recognized it at once.
As the shepherd drove closer to the sheep, their bleating became louder and more frequent. Suddenly, they all ran to the opposite side of the fold in great anticipation. I watched as the shepherd came over and set the bale of hay right where the sheep were waiting. The absolute love and devotion of the sheep toward their shepherd was a beautiful demonstration of today’s verse at the Alleluia: “My sheep hear [M]y voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow [M]e.”
Christ is the Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. This means that we must have the same childlike attachment to Him as sheep do their shepherd. Sheep are able to recognize their shepherd simply from seeing his car. As Christ’s sheep, we must be able to recognize Him everywhere: in the Eucharist, Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium, and in the daily events of our own lives. Then we can follow Him with complete trust that He will always guide us in right paths and lead us to verdant pastures.
Beautiful, touching, inspiring, comforting, encouraging🕊🙏 Thank you!!!
Beautiful reflection on today’s Gospel - thank you 🙏. “Then we can follow Him with complete trust that He will always guide us in right paths and lead us to verdant pastures.” So true if we trust in faith.