FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER.

The image of Jesus as the good shepherd is such a familiar image that it can sometimes become over-familiar and cease to engage us. Countless works of art have presented this image literally, picturing Jesus as a shepherd with a crook and surrounded by sheep or even with a lamb draped around the back of his neck. The image from this week’s gospel often gets merged with the image from the parable of the lost sheep that appears in the gospels of Luke (15:1-7) and Matthew (18:10-14) where artists frequently place Jesus as the hero of his own parable and portray him as the ‘good shepherd’ going out to retrieve the one lost sheep. Such amalgamations of different gospel images can become very confusing. Some of this confusion and literal interpretation stems from the gospel writer’s choice of metaphoric language. In the gospel, Jesus says, ‘I am the good shepherd’, not ‘I am like the good shepherd’. The writer’s use of metaphor, rather than simile, provides a much more compelling image but can result in a more literal interpretation.

The emphasis of the image is on the adjective. Jesus is the good shepherd. Shepherds generally were not regarded as particularly good people – more like the scum of the earth! – so the choice of image is a deliberate one to unsettle the listeners. Unlike their normal expectation of shepherds – cut-throats who would run away at the first sign of danger – Jesus is the good shepherd: the one who does not abandon his flock; the one who has concern for his sheep; the one who will lay down his own life for his sheep. The final verses of the passage make an interesting extension to the image of shepherd and sheep. Unlike the ‘sacrificial lamb’, the good shepherd chooses to lay down his life and also has the power to take it up again.

© Fr Greg Sunter


©Creative Ministry Resources Pty Ltd


 

2015 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING SUNDAY 19th JULY at 11am in SFX Hall.


MISSION STATEMENT

We, the people of St Francis Xavier - St Clare parish, seek to live Christ-centred lives, celebrating God’s presence & our faith values through worship, outreach, service, justice & hospitality.

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PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL

Next meeting: 7 May 2015



READINGS THIS WEEK
Acts 4:8-12
Peter heals by the power of Jesus.

1 Jn 3:1-2
We are children of God.

Jn 10:11-18
The Good Shepherd.


 

 

 

 

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