This Sunday is often referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday” because it is a Sunday set aside to pray for vocations to the priesthood, and to pray for our priests, our shepherds in the faith.
On the Fourth Sunday of Easter every year, we read from the “Good Shepherd” passage in John’s Gospel, wherein Jesus tells us, “I am the good shepherd.” We are told about two kinds of shepherds. The first, hired shepherds, care for sheep owned by someone else. These would run away and leave us when danger lurks. On the other hand, the shepherd who owns his sheep would fight hard, even to the death, to protect his own sheep.
Jesus is this good and faithful shepherd. He is telling us that he would even suffer death to protect and save us, but he would return to life, which He did. This shows us how much He cares for us. He fought to the bitter end for us. It also shows us how powerful He is—that He could give His life for us, and then return from the dead.
Jesus Christ is our Shepherd. He wants us to trust Him and to follow Him. Sometimes following Him can become a bit frightening: we don’t know exactly where He is taking us or what He might ask of us. Sometimes He may take us through the desert, as shepherds sometimes may do, to bring their sheep to a better grazing ground.
We must always have faith in our Good Shepherd, faith that He will lead us to the better grazing ground—life with Him, and the Father, and the Spirit for eternity.