Each time in the Gospel of St. John that Jesus begins with “I am”, a deeper insight about Jesus is revealed to us. Today we focus on Jesus, the good shepherd.
I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father: and I will lay down my life for the sheep. Jesus is telling us first that his relationship with each one of us is as intimate as his relationship with the Father. Here, Jesus reveals to us the incredible depth of his love for us. Out of that depth of love for us, Jesus goes on to tell us that he will die for us.
That is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. Here, Jesus goes son to tell us about his resurrection. Jesus is in total accord with his Father’s will and their plan of salvation for humanity. Just as Jesus rose from the dead, he will lead the flock he shepherds to eternal life and resurrection.
As much as Jesus wants us to follow him to eternal life, we have free will and can choose paths that put ourselves in danger. Jesus promises to never abandon us. He will pursue the “lost sheep” until he can safely carry the sheep back home. Each time we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can say that we are like the “lost sheep” returning home through the mercy and love of Jesus Christ.
May the Risen Christ bless you!