As we know many of the stories Jesus tells his disciples are used to help them understand his big message in a smaller and more accessible way. This gospel, The Good Shepherd, and his Sheep are no different. In this gospel, Jesus tells a story about a Shepherd who is completely devoted to his flock of sheep that he would risk death to make sure that his sheep are taken care of. Although they did not understand at this time, Jesus reveals to the disciples that he will be offering himself to God so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life in heaven, which is what happens over the Triduum at the end of Holy Week leading up to Easter. It is important that we remember, Jesus loves us so much that he chooses to lay down his life for us. In the verse, He says, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”
As Catholics, it is important to remember that we have a God that loves us so much that He would be willing to die to ensure that his children can be with him forever in paradise when we die. That unconditional love, agape love, is a very special thing. I know for myself I often struggle feeling worth to accept that love that God offers to me. I often find myself thinking, “Why would an all power God choose to love me, a sinner, a broken person, a person who is sometimes difficult to love.”. I especially think this way during difficult times in my life, but then I think about this gospel and find myself overwhelmed with joy that even though I feel worthy of God’s love, that he does it anyway. This gospel also helps me remember that during the times when it is difficult to have faith and when people that you thought would be in your life forever will leave you, but he will always be there holding you to him and offering you reassurance that he will never leave you alone.
I think that is the most important takeaway when you have faith and conviction in that faith that you will never be alone. In addition to that, as a Catholic, you are gifted a community of believers who can help you in the times you feel distant from God.