The Good Shepherd; Reflecting on John 10: 11-18

by Teresa Tu Tran
Photo by Biegun Wschodni


“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. 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. This command I received from my Father.”


In John 10:11-18, Jesus revealed himself as a good shepherd who knows his own flock and is a sacrifice for them. As we are called to serve our communities and or our parishes, we must never forget how a good shepherd severed his flock. It is through self-sacrifice of our time and talent, patient and understanding for other regardless of their religious belief. As a common phrase for Catholic, “God doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the called”. God knows us and He calls us by name. As we are looking at different saints or clergy to learn from them, others look at us and learn from us. And as our struggles become real even as others turn to us for guidance, we also have a shepherd to turn to for help.  Most of us sometimes forget this, but we are leaders in our own way. The church of tomorrow depends on how we set the foundation for the church of today.  There will be crisis and there will be need, but there will always be good people standing behind us.

I was reminded of Saint Teresa of Calcutta and her work of the Missionaries of Charity when I read this gospel. She founded this order serve people who are struggling with their lives and suffer from various diseases. During her lifetime, she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, and she did not discriminated against anyone because of their religious backgrounds. I’m sure there are moments when she struggled. She too turned to her own shepherd for guidance and help.

We are all called to serve, just like Saint Teresa of Calcutta, just like Jesus. It is normal for others to turn to you for help and for to you feel overwhelm, but never forget that you always have a good shepherd that you can turn to when you feel lost and doubt.