We generally know when someone is genuinely concerned about us or simply feigning interest. This Sunday’s Gospel tells us about God’s concern for us. The image of the Good Shepherd is presented to us to illustrate this and is contrasted with the hired hand who has no investment in us at all. The shepherd takes care of food, shelter, and the medical care of each one of his sheep. One way we know that someone is genuinely concerned about us is when they will go to any lengths to look after our best interests. This is only a small comparison to what God is like. God’s concern for us ran deep to the point that he sent his Son Jesus into the world to lay down his life for us.
In the time of Jesus, the shepherd would secure his sheep for the night. In the process he would check each one of his sheep to see if any of them had any injuries. This is what God is like for us. He is with us each day and is concerned over the wounds we experience in life, whether they be physical or emotional.
When someone is genuinely interested in us, we usually want to respond in kind. In the same way the Gospel calls us to respond in love to the God who has loved us first. As St John in the Second Reading reminds us, we are God’s children. Therefore, it is not enough to simply know that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are called to be in a relationship with God as his “good sheep.” Therefore, let us listen to the voice of Jesus our Good Shepherd this week by spending some time with him in prayer. Let us remember this week when we are among our friends and our neighbours and we are struggling that our God is present and is caring for us. Unlike the hired hand presented in the Gospel God is never going to leave us. God’s concern for us runs too deep for that to ever happen.