Sheep are either bought or born into the fold, which belongs to the Shepherd. The price of lamb has definitely gone up. Consider the price that Jesus had to pay. He gave His life for us.
We are the sheep; He is the Shepherd. An image which Jesus used to communicate the dependency relationship that He wants us to have with Him. Sheep are helpless without the Shepherd, just like children are helpless without their mothers. Of all God’s creatures babies will die without nourishment, without affection, shepherding. Usually a mother helps a child learn their first words, their first prayers, teaches her children the difference between right and wrong. Means she’s got to stay close to her child. That’s why some of the most beautiful images of the Blessed Mother are the ones of her holding the child Jesus close to her heart. When we remember our mothers we usually think of tenderness. During the “ouch” moments—because life is tough—even in childhood—the times we got in trouble—the rejection by those we thought were our friends—mother was always there. Some dads participate more than others in the nurturing of their babies, but they can never be a mom, just like a mom can never be a dad. Mothers are precious gifts to humanity because they most resemble the unconditional love of God. That’s why we say, “He’s got the face only a mother could love.” However, in spite of all the good publicity, no mother is perfect. Only God is perfect. Some mothers have distanced themselves from their families, the result is always painful. Mothers make mistakes. They commit sins.
We are well aware that there is much more to the vocation of motherhood than giving birth. Some times grandparents have to take over because the mother is in prison or on drugs or ran away. Thank God for grandparents, aunts and uncles who have come to the rescue. Many a teacher, coach, scout leader has served to guide children whose parents are not in the picture. Consider the asylums that are full of unaccompanied immigrant children, who might never be reunited with their parents. Thank you volunteers for answering the call of the Gospel to care for the children. There are indeed many “unsung” heroes in our community.
In our fast pace world many sheep feel lost without a shepherd. We have allowed television, I Pads, and phones to set the standard of entertainment rather than take the time to guide a young mind. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” But Jesus speaks through parents, family, teachers. Ignorance about what the Church teaches regarding faith and morals is at an all time high. Teenagers don’t know, or maybe they don’t want to know what is from God and what is from the devil. Who’s going to teach them? Who will shepherd those who are confused? Certainly parents need to be the first and best teachers of their children; but the community can also assume an active part, if we bother to care. Our Catholic School is the greatest effort of evangelization in our Parish—because no other organization has such a large number of souls willing to listen and grow in their Faith. The CCD program is next. Teachers and assistant teachers come faithfully every week to share with our youth. Faith teams for Baptism, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters—they know what they are and echo the voice of the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
Obviously the Church is much bigger than clergy and religious men and women. The Shepherd continues to guide us, through our Holy Father, our Bishops, and teachers.
Blessed are the sheep who are willing to listen, when there are so many voices, they are willing to listen to the voice of love—the One who gave His life so that we could live.