On this ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’, the Gospel verses are taken from the tenth chapter of St John. Here Jesus speaks of himself as the Good Shepherd, who brings life, love and protection to those within his flock.

In the First Reading we follow Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, where their message is rejected by the Jewish leaders. Undeterred, they turn their preaching to those termed pagans. To the joy of the disciples, these people readily hear and receive the message of eternal life offered by the Lord, fulfilling the commission given by Jesus himself.

The Psalm celebrates the joy, gladness and mercy that this eternal life promises to those who delight in being the Lord’s people, the sheep of his flock.

The Second Reading recounts John’s vision of heaven. Amid countless souls robed in the whitest of garments, we see Jesus as the Lamb, standing at the throne of God. We hear of the gifts of protection from hunger, thirst and sorrow which come to those who stand before God’s throne.

Jesus, the shepherd himself, speaks in the Gospel, reminding us of the blessings of care and protection his sheep are promised — both now, and in eternal life, with Jesus and the Father.

This week, perhaps we can pray especially for those who, for whatever reason, may feel lost and without the protection of the shepherd they once knew. We also remember those who are searching for a flock in which to make their home.