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Posts Tagged ‘Christ as shepherd’


John 10: Coming In and Going Out

Monday, May 15, 2017

Because we hear this story each Eastertide, we know this image well; yet do we listen fully to the description of the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep? And do we notice that once the shepherd leads his sheep into the fold, he then leads them out again?

When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. (Verse 4)

In Jesus’ day, it was the habit of a good rabbi to explore familiar scripture to listen for new juxtapositions and orientations. This re-working of a familiar message asks the faithful to remain awake, to sustain fidelity, to live a hope-filled and loving life that will grow in Christ. We return to Jesus’ words.

 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. (Verse 9)

The Winnowing Fork

We do not know the hour or day of the winnowing fork and so we are to stand ready like those who exited slavery in the great exodus with Moses (Exodus). We are to take unleavened bread and remember that we are marked with the sign of thau (Ezekiel 9:4) and respond to the shepherd’s call each time we hear his voice. In this way, we prepare to recognize the shepherd to follow him into the safety of the sheepfold . . . so that we may also follow him back through the gate and into the world.

When we compare different translations of John 10, we have a better understanding of our unique relationship with Christ as the leader who calls us into the sheepfold, so that he might lead us out into the world.

For an interesting article on the Exodus story, visit: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/moses-exodus.html

For more information on the sign of thau, visit the Biblehub at: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/ezekiel/9-4.htm

For more on the connection between the sign of thau and the sign of the cross, visit: http://catholicexchange.com/biblical-roots-sign-cross

Adapted from a reflection written on August 30, 2007.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Jeremiah 10

shepherd-in-wilderness1Christ the King

The pagan gods and cult idols must be carried about, for they cannot walk . . . but Jesus walks among us.

Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, they cannot speak . . . but our God speaks to us constantly.

Fear them not, they can do no harm, neither is it in their power to do good . . . the Holy Spirit comforts and abides with us always. 

No one is like you, O Lord, great are you, great and mighty is your name.  Who would not love you . . . for it is your due!

Today we hear a message from Jeremiah affirming all that we know to be true.  False shepherds will fall away; the One True Shepherd will gather the lost to bring them home. This King of all carries us on his shoulders – rather than asking us to carry him about.  This King of all accompanies us everywhere – even when we feel alone or betrayed, not only when we are happy or joy-filled.  This King protects, guides, guards, and loves us – even though we stray, complain and stumble.

This King will never falter, never err, never abandon even one of the flock.  This King directs our every step . . . if we only allow it.  In his Old Testament frame of mind, Jeremiah asks Yahweh to punish Israel’s enemies.  In our New Testament perspective, we pray for those who harm us, we intercede and ask forgiveness . . . just as Jesus does.  It is when we feel the most alone that we might also most feel God’s presence.  If we wish to feel in control of our lives, we must abandon ourselves to Christ.  If we wish to feel inspired and passionate about all we do, we must first welcome the Spirit into our hearts to accompany our prayer.  If we wish to be treasured, we must first care for those whom no one loves.  If we wish to be one with our brother, Christ the King, we must first be sister and brother to our enemies . . . and we must ask that God show them – and us – mercy.

You know, O Lord, that man is not master of his way; man’s course is not within his choice, nor is it for him to direct his step.

Love us, O Lord, and call those who have wandered far from you.  Pour out your grace upon us, so that we might hear you and respond to your call.  We ask this in the name of Jesus, the Christ and King, together with the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Adapted from a reflection written on November 21, 2010, the Feast of Christ the King.

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Monday, October 31, 2011 – Numbers 33 – Stages on the Journey

Written on January 15 and posted today as a Favorite . . .
 

Brissot de Warville: Shepherd and Flock in the Mountains

We have a clear map of this passage from slavery to freedom, from dependence to independence, from darkness to light, from sorrow to promise.  We might take time to reflect today on our own journey of faith and the many stages we have traversed.  There have been many crossings, fearsome turnings, alarming hazards, and disturbing encounters.  But there have also been beautiful awakenings, sustaining way stations, welcoming bridges, and warm pillars of fire in the night.  Each of us has a record of our crossing out of confinement into freedom – and it is likely true that each of us has been exhausted at various places along the way.  At each of these obstacles we will have heard God’s voice or received his word to us in various ways.  It is absolutely true that we all have received the Word itself, Christ.  And we have received him without an intercessor.  We have only to open ourselves to his presence. 

God is our constant strength, Jesus is our constant shepherd, the Spirit is our constant love as we move from darkness to light, from sorrow to promise . . . through the stages of our journey.

Isaiah 40:11: Like a shepherd [God] feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care. 

From one of today’s MAGNIFICAT Mini-Reflections:  Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd.  He has walked the path of life before us and is one of us in his humanity.  Let us put complete trust in him and confidently follow him wherever he leads us.  Amen. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 15.1 (2011). Print.  

Also see Journeys of Transformation

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