“I am the good shepherd.” Shepherd, old title. Ancient title.
King David, good shepherd, many not. Look around today, North Korea. (And how is that shepherd?)
Shepherd idyllic. Good king. Imagery. Old Testament and New.
Descriptive. Pencil and paper; what does a shepherd do?
Tending sheep, and lead to pasture. Protector, from the predator. They bind wounds. Bring to market. Heaven.. .
“Blessed are those who do not see, and believe.” Write that ten times. Write that one hundred times, write it a thousand. It is that important.
Jesus the Christ is the Good Shepherd. Most times when the LORD assumes this title people think of an image of Jesus walking with a lamb about His shoulders. The lamb rescued by the shepherd. There are other images. The lamb rescued from the thickets and the thorns, where is the image of the shepherd struggling to free the sheep? That shepherd hangs on a cross bloodied by the thorns and consumed by the task. The shepherd feeds those sheep, and where is the image. It is the host above a chalice, the paschal lamb. A shepherd that enters the herd to walk with that herd. A shepherd that becomes a lamb. The Lamb of God. A lamb of Sacrifice.
The Shepherd of “Good Shepherd Sunday” was present in the previous Sunday too. Hint, the Bread of Life.
The same Shepherd is that bread of life, that same bread where the disciples recognized the risen Lord. The Good Shepherd also is present as the Easter Christ, the Christ of our lives. Pope Francis wears a pectoral cross engraved with the image of Christ and the lamb atop His shoulders, the classic image of the Good Shepherd. Francis is in the person of Christ, Christs Shepherd on earth. Through apostolic succession the priests accept the role of shepherd. Priest, Pastor, Pastoral, Shephard. They are connected. But where else is this Shepherd, where can He be seen?
At Mass, common during this season a pastor fed his lambs the first food for a journey. The priest presented the sacrament of first communion. The Shepherd in bread (and wine). Feed the sheep! (Manna from heaven)
A body is consumed at communion, it becomes part of us. A Shepherd walks with us and us with Him. A tabernacle to make Him visible. Trample back a few Sundays ago, just after the resurrection. The risen Lord described by an angel. A risen Lord discovered through conversation. Discovered through the breaking of bread. Companion, travelers with bread. Shepherd not seen with eyes. Until they were opened. Blessed are they who do not see and believe. Write that ten times. Write that one hundred times, write it a thousand. It is that important.
A shepherd feeding the lambs. Shepherd present in so many ways. Priest. Blessed Sacrament. Church. Shepherd today, visible as the body of Christ. Mystical.
Some simple examples. They guide a flock through their schools.
The mystical body of Christ, is a mystical body of the Good Shepherd. “A young flock beginning a journey, go back to that first communion. “To educate is to Shepherd.”
From teachers, to scholars, to writers, to artist.
They shepherd in their unique way, as Christ’s shepherds. Visible today.
The Good Shepherd to guide them as they shepherd others.
Angus Dei.A mystical Shepherd and a mystical Body of Christ. A Good Shepherd of the Resurrection.
The Good Shepherd reaches for the lost sheep. That is the reason for the Nativity. But where is that shepherd today?
The Mystical Body of Christ. Charities is love, the love of the Shepherd. They bring food and shelter to the injured and the marginalized and the lost and the starving and those in despair. Hospitality to hospital. FYI a Franciscan tradition. They are the original purveyors of Hospitals. Remember Francis encounter with a Leper? Did he simply leave that lost sheep, or tend his wounds. Shepherd. Not just the parish (though that counts for certain) but the Church. Big organization and many branches; from schools to relief services to charities. Mystical: of or relating to mystics or religious mysticism:
spiritually allegorical or symbolic; transcending human understanding: Mystical !
This is the Easter season, a time to seek a risen Lord. A Good Shepherd, present in the desert battling the devil, is the same one with a Lamb about His shoulders. That He might seek us out, but can’t we do the same?
Is it possible to look for signs of HIM at every corner of life, to seek his presence here and now? Situational awareness, calling out for salvation and keeping an eye out for danger. Easter is about witnessing a risen LORD and the gospel tells it is not only about eyes. Vision an also a function of the mind, the intellect. Mystical body and mystical shepherd, today. Bonaventure, journey into the mind of God. I must read it.