The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep
Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you.
Find a comfortable space and when ready, take three deep breaths. As you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and take a few moments to reflect on:
- Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
- Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.
Soar– Eric Nordhoff
Read the Gospel John 10:11-18
Read the Gospel aloud, even if reading it on your own.
‘I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.
The hired man, since he is not the shepherd
and the sheep do not belong to him,
abandons the sheep and runs away
as soon as he sees a wolf coming,
and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;
this is because he is only a hired man
and has no concern for the sheep.
‘I am the good shepherd;
I know my own
and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me
and I know the Father;
and I lay down my life for my sheep.
And there are other sheep I have
that are not of this fold,
and these I have to lead as well.
They too will listen to my voice,
and there will be only one flock,
and one shepherd.
‘The Father loves me,
because I lay down my life
in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me;
I lay it down of my own free will,
and as it is in my power to lay it down,
so it is in my power to take it up again;
and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’
Reflect on the Gospel
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish.
Some questions you might like to ponder (Taken from Reflection by Fr Kieran O’Mahony):
- There is a qualitative difference between a casual acquaintance and a relationship characterised by understanding and care.
What changes have you experienced in your relationships as your love and knowledge of the other increased?
What was it like for you to experience that change?
- The good shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep”. When has your care for another led you to “lay down your life” for that person, e.g., as a friend, parent, spouse, son or daughter? When have you known another to do this for you?
- The parable also suggests that relationships should not be closed but open. Perhaps you have experienced the truth of the saying that love shared is love strengthened.
- Jesus speaks of the freedom of the Good Shepherd in laying down his life. Faced with the needs of others, we can at times feel trapped into looking after them, caught by duty, obligation, or guilt. We can become like the hired hands who do a job without care for the person. Perhaps you have experienced both attitudes, caring for others under duress and by free choice.
What difference did it make when you chose to care for the other, even in circumstances where you had little option?
- What do these experiences of love and care in human relationships reveal to you about God’s love for you?
Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel of the Passion read in our Mass this day in written or on video.
The following prayer is from the Center for Action and Contemplation community. We invite you to listen to or join with Richard Rohr in praying this prayer (see cac.org)
Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world. Please add your own intentions . . . Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.