The Good Shepherd
To examine the role of shepherds in Palestine 2000
To reflect on why Jesus called himself the "Good Shepherd"
To reflect on how he passed this role on to others
Shepherd's crook, toy sheep.
The Feast of the Good Shepherd
The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul 29th June
1. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Good morning everybody. Today's assembly is about being a good shepherd.
2. When Jesus was alive, two thousand
years ago, the life of a shepherd in Palestine was a very hard one. The
shepherd had to live with his sheep, out in the open, in all weathers.
At night he had to keep watch on the hillside, ready to ward off
attacks by wild animals and even, if necessary, to give his life in
defence of his flock.
3. In very cold weather, he might lead
his flock into the shelter of the fold, a roughly-built square of rocks
and stones with thorn bushes growing on top. The shepherd himself was
the door, since he lay down to sleep stretched across the opening.
This life of devoted service was accepted by the shepherd, because he
loved his sheep.
4. King David began life as such a
shepherd. He wrote psalms and songs about his flock - and about how God
our Father looks after us like a shepherd looking after his sheep.
Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepherd" is still a popular hymn today. We
will sing it later in our assembly.
5. Jesus belonged to the family which
descended from King David. When he wanted to explain how much he loved
us and how much he would do for us, he called himself a Good Shepherd.
He said that he would serve his sheep even by giving his life for them,
which he did.
6. To show what a good shepherd should do,
Jesus told the parable of The Lost Sheep. (Read Luke 15: 4-7)
Jesus will look after us even when we stray.
7. Peter, one of Jesus's flock, started
out as a fisherman. Later he became an Apostle of Jesus. After the
Resurrection, Jesus gave him another job - he trusted Peter so much
that he made him the shepherd of his flock. Jesus told Peter to feed
and tend his flock.
8. Peter was actually the first Pope.
Popes and bishops today still carry a shepherd's crook to symbolise the
fact that we are their flock and they are caring for us, by caring for
9. We can all find ways of being good
shepherds in our own lives, for example by looking after our younger
brothers or sisters, or by helping others in our class if they are in
trouble, or by leading and setting a good example, or by helping people
who are lost in any way.
10. We should also let other people help
us and be good shepherds to us, especially if it is God trying to help
us through them.
11. We will remember this as we sing "The
Lord is my Shepherd." There are a number of hymns of this name, with a