I am the Good Shepherd

04-21-2024Weekly Reflection© LPi Fr. John Muir

Recently I was with my little dog Libby at a retreat center in the Arizona desert. I sat in a chair near a ravine filled with shrubs. Unbeknownst to me, Libby wandered down there and disappeared. Suddenly an animal’s wild shriek erupted from the area. Without thinking, I bolted down into the ravine fully expecting to see coyotes, javelinas, or rattlesnakes. I didn’t care.

I desperately wanted to get Libby out of there, without any self-regard. Before I could face whatever danger lay hidden, my dog blissfully trotted out from an entirely different area, utterly unaware that I had (quite heroically) just placed my life on the line. When the adrenaline wore off, I thought to myself: how far would I have been willing to go to save her? I don’t know. But I do know, if I had literally died, my friends and family would have certainly thought me insane for dying for a dog. No offense, Libby.

How passionately Jesus wants us to know him and his willingness to die for us! This week he says, “I know my own and my own know me,” and “I lay down my life for the sheep.” Here we encounter an insanely excessive love for us. Christianity is a relationship and not simply a religion or ethical code. In Jesus, God rescues and saves us. He laid down his life for you and me — and he has taken it up again. So often we are like Libby — blissfully ignorant of the reality of both our spiritual danger and his saving love.

This Easter season, the risen Jesus calls us to be more conscious than ever before about his love. He never ceases to lay down his life for us.