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"Purifying Power of Shepherding"

There is no better feeling than knowing you are protected and secure at all times. We feel secure when the doors of the house are locked and all is quiet as you drift off to sleep at night. We feel safe. But many lie awake in their beds with fearful thoughts of the present or dread of the future. Some cannot rest because of worry over many problems. Others are anxious about a sick family member. These are the times when we need God's guidance and help.

In today's gospel, Jesus said "I am the good Shepherd, the good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good Shepherd and I know My own and My own know Me" (John 10:11-14). We as believers in Christ are like a flock of sheep. We are likened to sheep. Sheep are vulnerable to enemies and thieves. They need a shepherd that will take care of them, give good grass and pure water to drink. The good Shepherd makes sure that all the sheep are safe. When a sheep is wounded or becomes ill, the good shepherd notice it, takes that sheep from the flock and gives any special attention needed for it to be restored to fullness of health. It is the shepherd’s responsibility to lead, guide and watch over them.

In the Church its pastoral ministries: bishops, priests or anyone called by God to shepherd the flock of believers, are also shepherds. They are there not just to teach God's word, but also to encourage, help and guide the members of congregation. They have concern for the people entrusted to them. They are to mirror and reflect the ministry of Jesus Christ. They see to it that the flock grows to the fullness of maturity in the life of Christ, conforming to Christ’s very image. As Jesus promised, He will guard and protect His flock. We have to listen to His voice and trust Him.

We often read and hear the familiar Psalm 23; today it seems to come with a fresh message of God's care for His people. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." The message is so comforting! We cannot know the future, but we can know this: No matter what comes, we are under the loving, caring and watchful eye of the great Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

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