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September 27, 2015

“The Good Shepherd” by James Tissot (c. 1890), Brooklyn Museum (PD-Age)

The news this week has been filled with images of Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Over one billion Catholics worldwide view the Pope as the successor to Peter. The apostle, we know, was instructed by the Lord, Himself, “ ‘Feed My lambs…Feed My sheep’ ” (John 21: 15, 17).

Shepherding is among the oldest occupations, having originated some 6000 years ago, in rugged regions where planting grain was not a viable alternative.

It has always been the duty of shepherds to keep their flocks intact, and protect them from predators. That is not, however, an easy task.

Humans, sheep, and dogs specially bred for the purpose, interact with one another under constantly changing circumstances. A formerly reliable stream runs dry. One of the new lambs cannot find its mother. The lead dog is favoring the leg he injured last season. Wildfires are closer than they were last year. A few of the sheep are skittish for a reason the shepherd must ascertain. A wolf appears on the horizon. A storm suddenly comes up.

The analogy is not hard to draw. Bucolic setting or not, large congregation or small, shepherds of all denominations must remain attentive to lurking dangers.

If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?’” (Matt. 18: 12).

You searched for us when we were lost, Lord Jesus. The Good Shepherd, You drew us back from the precipice. Your love enfolded us after all hope was gone.

Our hearts are filled to overflowing with gratitude. May we now extend a helping hand to others. May our lives reflect Your love.

We ask this in Your holy Name.



  1. and meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, a young man is being beheaded and crucified…I know who I would rather follow…

  2. Thank you for this beautiful and sensitive post. I’m blessed by your words about the Pope and how you spoke of shepherding. Peace.

  3. I am so thankful that our Shepherd continually watches over us. As long as our hearts are inclined towards him he will lead and guide us to that secure place,and even when we wander he calls us back to the sheepfold.

    We are taught in the word that in this world we will have tribulation but to be of good cheer,for Jesus has overcome the world. That is my peace and comfort.

    Have a blessed day Anna!

  4. I so love your description of shepherding and its dangers in the natural realm, dear Anna, because you painted a vivid picture that can easily be translated into the spiritual realm where our Lord cares for all of His sheep.

    Thank you! 🙂

    Love ❤

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