The good shepherd

Daily Reading for April 25 • The Fourth Sunday of Easter

He whose goodness is his own nature and not some nonessential gift, says, “I am the good Shepherd.” He adds the character of this goodness, which we are to imitate, saying, “The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” He did what he taught; he gave an example of what he commanded. The good Shepherd has laid down his life for his sheep in order to change his body and blood into a sacrament for us and to satisfy the sheep he had redeemed with his own body as food. The way of contempt for death that we are to follow has been shown us, the mold that is to form us is there.

The first thing we are to do is to devote our external goods to his sheep in mercy. Then, if it should be necessary, we are to offer even our death for these same sheep. . . . If someone does not give his substance to the sheep, how can he lay down his life for them?

From Forty Gospel Homilies by Gregory the Great, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament IVa, John 1-10, edited by Joel C. Elowsky (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006).

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