Good Shepherd Sunday (Ages 3-6): The Voice of the Good Shepherd
Listen to the Gospel and Reflection
Here it is, our favourite parable! On the fourth Sunday of Easter each year, the church listens to Jesus tell us all that he is the Good Shepherd. It is a long parable, so each year we look very closely at just one part of it.
What does the Good Shepherd do?
He calls his own sheep
The Good Shepherd has sheep of his own—they belong to him. He calls them, and they are his.
How does he call them?
He calls his own sheep by name
He knows their names! How can he tell them all apart? How can he remember each name?
Think, who knows our name?
Family and friends? These are all people who love us.
Teachers, doctors, priests? These are all people who care about us.
Can we say, then, that the Good Shepherd loves and cares for his sheep?
They must be very special sheep.
After he calls his sheep, the Good Shepherd,
leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them
Now that is unusual. Most shepherds walk behind the sheep, pushing them with their staff, keeping an eye on them so none of them wander away.
Why does the Good Shepherd not walk behind? Is he not worried that the sheep might wander away?
the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
What do they know about his voice?
We have thought about the voice of the Good Shepherd before. This is the voice that calls the disciples—Peter and Andrew, James and John—and they follow him. This is the voice that calls Lazarus out of death and into life. This is the voice that calls Mary Magdalene and she turns and is the first to know that Jesus is Risen.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, must have a voice of such power, of such sweetness, of such joy—that they want to follow.
And Jesus tells us, too, that the sheep,
will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.
They only know the voice of the Good Shepherd. They must know that only his voice will lead them to good things. Only his voice will lead them to all the things they need. We know that this is true, because Jesus also says,
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
Abundant life. Not just enough life, but MORE than enough life. The best.
Only the best for the sheep. They must be very special sheep.
It is good to think about the voice of the Good Shepherd. We can think about it and wonder if we know the voice of the Good Shepherd... Do we know his voice already?
We have to wonder.