Safe in the Hands of the Good Shepherd


I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (Jn 10:10). It is within the context of the passage about the good shepherd that Jesus shared this reason for his presence among us. He is the Good Shepherd, who knows his sheep, and his sheep recognize his voice, which calls them to good pastures. Jesus acknowledged that others break into the sheepfold, thieves and robbers, with the intention to destroy, but my sheep hear my voice ... and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand (Jn 10:27-28).

The sheepfold of this life is shown as a vulnerable place. Thieves break in to destroy and hirelings flee when danger arrives, abandoning the sheep when the wolf comes. More than anyone, Jesus understands the anger that may result from this broken trust. It is a natural reaction, and we can be angry at God, the person who hurt us, and ourselves for how we handled what was difficult. Rather than inflicting punishment in the moment, or taking revenge (which is what justice seems to demand), Jesus goes beyond. Instead of an eye for an eye, the Lord says, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Mt 5:44). He did not come to destroy, but proclaimed, I lay down my life for my sheep. 

The Good Shepherd shows the sheep their worth. This is the one trait that Jesus points out for us to distinguish him by: he has given his life in the fight for yours. Whatever harm we experience will not go unanswered. His mercy is always leading us to the ultimate pasture where there are no hirelings or thieves. In the wake of choices-whether they be our own or those of others - that had destructive consequences, we may come to know more clearly the difference between the voice calling us to good pastures and the voice that leads to death .... Listening to his voice, we come to know, I know my own and my own know me. This laying down of his life for me opens the gate to the eternal pastures where he prepares a table before me (Ps 23:5). Despite feelings of abandonment in this life, Jesus' promise remains: I am with you always (Mt 28:20).

Sister Faustina is a member of the Sisters of Life, a congregation founded in 1991 by Cardinal John O'Connor to promote the dignity of human life. 


For comments and suggestions: Sacred Heart Catholic Church Web Team
Updated: April 21, 2024

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