Jesus has the heart of a good shepherd

John Connelly


Fourth Sunday of Easter – April 26, 2015
Acts 4.7-12 | Psalm 118 | 1 John 3.1-2 | John 10.11-18
April 20, 2015

We truly understand Jesus when we see that he has a shepherd's heart. He is, as this week's Gospel tells us, the Good Shepherd.

The merciful heart of Jesus is always oriented toward his sheep. His heart is focused on you, me and all his children.

I remember watching a flock of sheep in a field shortly after my conversion. I walked up to the fence and observed them with fascination. I knew they had something to teach me about myself.

I know my own and my own know me. – John 10.14

'I know my own and my own know me.'

John 10.14

It is a good spiritual exercise to watch sheep. It is not hard to see something beautiful in these innocent creatures. They are not terribly smart. They are prone to wander and stray. They easily fall victim to predators.

Without a good shepherd to lead them they are lost. They do not survive.

When Jesus looks at the human race he sees the truth. We are like sheep without a shepherd. We are forever wandering into dangerous territory. Just look around the world today – abortion, war, division, science run amok over reason, media spewing out half-truths and lies.

No wonder so many are trapped in darkness. We are surrounded by wolves.

But the heart of Jesus does not leave us. Not for one second.

He sees how needy we are, how lost our world is. He looks at us and sees his lost sheep. In his book Heart of the World, Hans Urs von Balthasar writes of the heart of Jesus, "You sense time and yet have not sensed this heart? . . .

"Put your finger to the living pulse of being. Feel the throbbing that in one single act of creation at once claims you and sets you free – how you ought to love him as your most intimate friend and how you ought to fall down before him as the all-high Lord; how in one and the same act he clothes you out of love and strips you out of love; how, along with existence, he presses all treasures into your hand."

Sin creates the illusion that we can live without God. It is like being a sheep that wants to go it alone in a hostile wilderness.

The world today is lost in many ways. We have wandered from the Good Shepherd who wants nothing more than to lead us home. The heart of Jesus has not forgotten us.

He calls to every human heart, "Come home. I am the Good Shepherd. Let me reveal to you my infinite heart of love and mercy."

The heart of Jesus always beats for us. His heart beats with a passion for every person. Recognize our wandering nature as sheep. See in the core of your being that we all need the Good Shepherd daily.

He will guide us as we meditate on the inspired words of Psalm 23: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."