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Sunday, May 14, 2000

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:8-12
1 John 3:1-2
Psalm 118
John 10:11-18

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the life of a sheep

"I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." —John 10:11

"I am the Good Shepherd. I know My sheep and My sheep know Me." —John 10:14

Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and we are His sheep. To be called a sheep is not a compliment. Sheep are sheepish, that is, backward and timid. Sheep are too stupid to eat grass without destroying the field where the grass grows. That's one of the reasons they need shepherds. The fact that the first mammal cloned was a sheep is not something for sheep to be proud of. When Jesus called us "sheep," He implied that we weren't just weak but helpless. Without Him we can do nothing (Jn 15:5).

We sheep, who are so pathetic, have a hard time living under the easiest circumstances. What will we do in difficult and dangerous circumstances? Thieves are coming "only to steal and slaughter and destroy" us (Jn 10:10). Wolves are trying to snatch, scatter, and kill us (Jn 10:12). Some of these wolves are in sheep's clothing (Mt 7:15), so some of those we consider our friends are actually our enemies. Furthermore, some of our shepherds whom we are counting on to protect us are merely hired hands who will abandon us and leave us to be slaughtered (Jn 10:12).

We sheep are stupid, weak, and in a "heap of trouble." Our only Hope is Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Follow Jesus.

Prayer:  Jesus, Good Shepherd, lead me through the valley of the shadow of death (Ps 23:4, KJV).

Promise:  "See what love the Father has bestowed on us in letting us be called children of God! Yet that is what we are." —1 Jn 3:1

Praise:  Praise Jesus, Who holds "the keys of death and the nether world" (Rv 1:18). Praise You, Good Shepherd, that no one can snatch us out of Your hand (Jn 10:28). Alleluia forever!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, October 4, 1999

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 1999