A text by Brother Titus
The image of the Shepherd King is a richly poetic and consoling theme running throughout the Old Testament. Particularly in Psalm 23 and in the Prophets. Perhaps it is in the writings of the Prophet Ezechiel that we are presented with the most vivid revelation of God as a shepherd. In chapter 34 we find this passage:
“For the Lord says this: Look, I myself shall take care of my flock when he is with his scattered sheep, so shall I look after my sheep. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered on the day of clouds and darkness. I shall bring them back from the peoples where they are; I shall gather them back from the countries and bring them back to their own land. I myself shall pasture my sheep, I myself shall give them rest – declare the Lord. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the injured and make the sick strong. I shall be a true shepherd to them.”
This is a tremendous text, for it shows very clearly who our true Shepherd is. In the same chapter, the Lord says, “I shall raise up one shepherd, my servant David, and put Him in charge of them, to pasture them; He will pasture them and be their shepherd.”
When Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd” He is saying, “I am the Messiah, the Branch of David, raised as the shepherd of the flock of God’s human pasture.”
As our good shepherd, Jesus leads us on the path to the fresh, green meadows and restful streams of his Kingdom. But how does He lead us? He leads by becoming the Lamb. The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
In the unique, unrepeatable sacrifice of Himself, Jesus brings to a culmination all of salvation history. Salvation for the human race has been, in essence, certain from the moment, when in the person of Jesus it died to sin and rose to live again.
Jesus is the Lamb of God, first-born from the dead. The perfect, spotless image of the unseen God. It is his Blood that cleanses us, his Blood that unites us, his Blood that serves for us the verdant pastures of eternal life in heaven.
We all share in the Body and Blood of this Lamb; it is through the gift of the Eucharist that Christ, our good shepherd, is leading us today. He guides us on the journey of our lives to everlasting fulfillment. As God enjoined the Jews to partake of the Passover Lamb “with loins girded, sandals on their feet, and staff in hand,” so too we should be ready to travel, to journey, to follow our Good Shepherd: whenever, whenever, He calls.
“Worthy is the Lord that was sacrificed to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing, and to the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb, be all praise, honor, glory and power, forever and ever, amen.”