When you grow up at the foot of the mountains in Ireland you get to see a lot of sheep. They are dotted all over the landscape, bouncing around in the heather and gorse, bleating all the while. At this time of year, they are joined by the lambs, always an uplifting sight to see.
Even modern shepherds mind the sheep. Mostly they have quad bikes, tractors and trailers, some even have drones, but yet they still rely on their dog to move the sheep. It’s an awesome sight to see a man standing, watching his sheep, and with a distinct whistle his dog takes instructions and carries out his command. It is a unique language; the shepherd knows his sheep and his faithful companion assists him in bringing them to shelter and safety. What Jesus saw in his day, we still see today.
So, when we come to Good Shepherd Sunday we first encounter the love and protection that the Lord has for us all. Then from his example we discern our vocation within the Christian community, some will follow in the footsteps of the Apostles and become the shepherds of today’s community in ordained ministry.
Others will see in the witness and example of the women who walked with him and be inspired to one of the many ministries rooted in compassion and care. Together we will all live under the watchful eye of our Lord and Master.