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Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Scripture Readings: Acts 11:1-18; Psalms 42:2-3; 43:3, 4; John 10:11-18

My dear encountered couples:

Today Jesus again identifies himself as a shepherd. The shepherd is the individual who spent most of his life with his sheep. It was his responsibility to protect the sheep. He also led them. The shepherd made sure the sheep had sufficient water to drink and grass to eat. He also protected the sheep from wolves and other predators.

The shepherd’s life was one of constant movement. After the sheep ate all the grass in one pasture, the shepherd moved them to another green pasture. The shepherd’s life also was a lonely life. For weeks, the shepherd’s only companions were his sheep. Since his sheep were his closest companions and friends, most likely the shepherd came to know his sheep well. He knew which sheep were docile and he also recognized the unruly and stubborn sheep. Yet, the shepherd was committed to caring for each of the sheep, even the aggravating ones.

Usually the shepherd had a very strong bond with his sheep. He not only was responsible for them, he truly cared about his sheep (and perhaps even came to “love” them)! In some ways, the sheep became the shepherd’s family. They were his constant companions. The sheep only would follow the voice of their shepherd. They would not follow another person. The bond between the shepherd and the sheep was very strong and real.

Jesus is our shepherd! Jesus sticks with us no matter what. He is committed to caring for us and leading us. Jesus comes and finds us when we are lost and afraid. Jesus will keep looking for us until he finds us. However, do we have the same strong bond with Jesus as the sheep have with their shepherd? Do we recognize Jesus’ voice when he calls us? Do we listen for his voice? Do we trust that Jesus will protect us at all costs?

Today may we take time to thank Jesus for loving us so deeply. May we also thank Jesus for his tender care and protection. Jesus is our shepherd! We can depend on him always!

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