The Significance of Good Shepherd Sunday

Today’s Gospel reading on the Good Shepherd may be short and sweet, but if you read closely it is packed with significance that can help us better understand our relationship with the Lord.

Bishop Daniel Mueggenborg, auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Seattle, stopped by Morning Air® earlier this week to discuss what we can learn from the Gospel reading this Good Shepherd Sunday.

“We only have four short verses from John’s Gospel today, chapter 10:27-30,” Bishop Mueggenborg pointed out. “And yet in these four short verses, where Jesus speaks to us as the Good Shepherd, He teaches us some very critical and important aspects of our lives as disciples.”

And while the image of sheep may conjure up an idea of simple, peaceful, passive creatures, Bishop Mueggenborg explained that being a part of Jesus’ flock is anything but passive.

“He’s pretty clear in this passage that being a member of the flock is not a passive action,” Bishop Mueggenborg said. “It’s not something that we just stumble into accidentally. It’s an active response to hearing His voice and following Him. And so when Jesus gives us that very simple description of discipleship as someone who hears and follows, that’s instructive to us. It tells us that we need to create that space in our lives so we actually can hear the authentic voice of Jesus, always under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

And while Good Shepherd Sunday is certainly the perfect time to pray for our priests, bishops, and all those who shepherd the Lord’s flock, it is also an opportunity to look at our own lives, and how we can be good shepherds to those in our care.

“We all influence someone,” said Bishop Mueggenborg. “And that means that in one way or another, we are all entrusted with the responsibility of being a good shepherd for somebody. Whether it’s parents for their children, or people within our offices, or even our own friends or members of our family. We affect their lives. And because of that, we have a shepherding role.”

So how do we go about following the Good Shepherd, and being a good shepherd to those in our care? “I think one of the things that is important to always do is to stay attuned to the movement of the Holy Spirit,” Bishop Mueggenborg said. “And we can only do that if we are cultivating in our lives an attitude of quiet, silent prayer. Where we can actually become sensitive to hearing the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, leading us to be an active member of Christ’s body and a witness of Jesus in all those different contexts throughout the day. That’s how we hear the Lord and we follow Him, in a practical way, no matter what our state in life.”

Listen to the full conversation below:

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