Daily Lectionary Readings for Year A
Shepherding is a central theme in the story of our faith. A good shepherd was essential for a nomadic people like the Israelites. Well cared for sheep provided wool to make clothing and blankets. They were a source of food, a valuable commodity for trade, and a sign of hope and security for the people of God.
It was no wonder that Shepherds, like David, were recognized as having the gifts necessary to watch over God's people. A good Shepherd could think quickly and act decisively. And, the people believed God would send another Shepherd to save the world.
Today's Gospel text is much like many for Jesus. He is shepherding his sheep. Two of the twelve disciples want an elevated status. Their mother even comes to ask Jesus to honor her sons in this way! The shepherd sees the complicated family dynamics at play. He leads his flock through his words and example, "Whoever wishes to be first among you must be a servant." The Good Shepherd watches over the sheep.
There have been stories of sheep who have not been watched over. They have run away and hid in caves rather than be shorn of their wool. One, named Shrek, was found after six years. His 60 pounds of wool was shorn on national television with the proceeds going to help children's hospitals. Sheila, another who evaded her shepherd for years, could hardly see because the wool was literally covering her eyes. Which reminds me, I need to cut my hair.
Stay prayerful. Stay hopeful. Let us follow the Good Shepherd. May God bless you and bring a smile to your face during this extended journey.