Monday, May 16, 2011

One Flock, One Shepherd

The Lord uses a beautiful image in today's Gospel (John 10: 11-18). He speaks of having sheep in different folds, but that all will hear His voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd.  Now we have to remember that a sheepfold is a temporary holding pen. The sheep only stay there to sleep or to await sheering. Their natural place is out on the hills as part of a large flock. But this can only happen when the sheep have been imprinted with the Shepherd's voice (see yesterday's post - The Voice). Only those who recognize the voice of the shepherd will follow and form the large flock.
It is very powerful to think of the world situation in terms of this image. So many things separate us - national boundaries, denominations, political and philosophical positions, etc. Each of these puts us into different "sheepfolds". But the Lord desires that everyone recognize His voice, no matter which of these groups or folds we happen to be occupying. This will enable us to move beyond the confines of our small, limiting group and merge with the great mass of humanity that will form the one flock.That is a cause for great optimism. It means that we can spend more time looking at what we have in common, rather than wasting time on the differences. It means we have to realize that those who are "different" from us may indeed be following the same voice of the Shepherd. It means that the divisions of this world are less important than our oneness in Christ.
Someday, the Lord assures us, this reality will be evident to all. Until then, we should strive to live the reality that there there is one Lord, one Shepherd, one flock. And thanks be to God we are part of it!

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