by Ken Rolheiser
Our Good Shepherd’s care for us

Statistics say that a woman speaks 30,000 words a day and a man 15,000. The husband asks, “How come you speaks twice as much as I do?”
The wife replies, “Because I have to repeat myself so many times.”
“What?” says the husband.
And how many times does Jesus have to call us, his sheep, and remind us that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for us? (John 10:11). That was part of the message shared by Father Joseph Kuruvilla on Good Shepherd Sunday.

Our shepherd cares for us. He will arise and shepherd us. (Micah 5:4). He himself will feed us. (Ezekiel 34:23). 

“He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.” (Isaiah 40:11).

In the many references to the Good Shepherd’s care for us we pick up caring words like “He calls us; He gathers; He protects and preserves; He knows us; He guides us; He cherishes tenderly; and He gives us eternal life. Wow! Not bad!

The Internet has several inspiring stories to illustrate the Good Shepherd’s love for us. On the negative side, there are stories of precaution. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10).

Bob’s Ice Cream Parlor in Bethesda, Maryland received a phone call: “This is the police. You are going to be robbed. Do NOT resist. Let the robber have your money. We will be waiting right outside, and we need to catch him with the money on him.”

Sure enough, a man with a knife came in demanding money. Mr. Peabody gave him all the cash and watched him leave the store, get in his car, and drive away. Then he realized what had just happened. The phone call hadn’t come from police headquarters but from the thief.

On a positive note, there is the story of Good Shepherd Sunday falling on Mother’s Day as it did this year. A man working at a club on the weekend of the biggest motorcycle gathering of the year heard the roaring machines pulling up outside. The conversation turned to uneasy whispering.

A group of tough looking bikers entered the club. One of them walked up and asked for the courtesy phone. In the silence of the room everybody overhear the biker: "Hi, Mom. Just want to let you know I'll be home late tonight."

Another story is from a small town in Wyoming. One summer, the children were allowed to adopt orphaned lambs and raise them. After several months, the adults forgot about the program and rounded up these lambs with the rest of the flock to be led out to summer pasturage. The children were heartbroken.

The adults took the children up to where the sheep were. They stood around the herd, each child called the lamb they'd raised - and all those adopted lambs raised came running to the sound of their master's voice. Again, not baaad!

“God has, in fact, thought of us from eternity and has loved us as unique individuals. He has called every one of us by name, as the Good Shepherd ‘calls His sheep by name.’” (Saint John Paul II).

We have a choice. We can follow or turn away. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27).

(569 words)