(This Bible Reflection was done in Ospital ng Maynila - Department of Family Medicine)
Our most loving God
You are the good shepherd
Who leads us to the green pasture of life
Guide us today in our study that we may be nourished in our spiritual life
Gospel: John 10:11-18
The Gospel text tells of Jesus describing him. Jesus uses the story of a shepherd and the sheep. Who is the shepherd and who are the sheep?
It is understandable that sheep are common animals in Jesus time but there should be a reason for Jesus to use them as an image. Now there are different characteristics of sheep, what are some that you know? Of the many traits of the sheep, Jesus points to one particular characteristic of the sheep that defines the relationship of shepherd and sheep, the recognition of the sheep of their shepherd. Jesus said, “I know my sheep and they know me.”
Now, here is the assumption: we are all Christians here. If Jesus is the good shepherd, with us being called Christians, we are the sheep. The question for us now, how well do we know our shepherd? Are we really like the sheep that Jesus said “know me (Jesus)?”
To know Jesus means to be close to Jesus. Imagine your best buddy in high school; you can say that you know that person inside out because you are close to him/her. How did you get close to him/her? You probably spent most of the day with your friend. You constantly talk to your friend about any stuff. You may even be conversing or talking in the phone until dawn. You probably did stuff together, especially the crazy stuff of your teenage life. But how about now, are you still as close to your friend? If your best friend already has a family of his/her own or is now living abroad, you probably felt you are not as close as before. Although once you get together during reunions, it’s like the old times again. To know someone is to be close to that person. But how close are we to Jesus?
John Wesley, an Anglican priest and founder of Methodism, used a spirit meter to gauge one’s closeness to Jesus. He uses this meter everyday to reflect how he fared in his journey towards Christ-likeness. From the spirit meter, he can better assess his efforts in responding to God’s grace. Let us try to use the same meter and see how close are we to Jesus today? One is farthest and ten is closest to Jesus.
Now, in the midst of our work and in the middle of the week, most of us will answer that we are 5 or 6 in our spirit meter. Obviously, we want to say our score is 10. That is our goal, to be super close to Jesus. How can we be closer to Jesus to say that we know him?
To be close to someone means to know how one speaks, thinks and act. To know someone well, we have to be constantly exposed to him, communicates with him, acts like him and be with him. This is also true with Jesus. We need to dilute ourselves of Jesus like joining in Christian fellowship and attending mass, we need to talk to him – by praying always and reading the Bible, and we need to act like Jesus like doing random acts of kindness. Let us always be in the presence of Jesus to know our good Shepherd. We need to be buddies with the shepherd to say we know him. We need to spend a great time with Jesus to be close to him and to know him even more. That is our challenge – exert more effort to spend more time with Jesus.
Our most loving and gracious God
You are the Good Shepherd
Who have called us to the good pasture to feed us with your living Word
Nourish us with your love and wisdom with what we have learned from our Bible study today
That we may be able to know you better. Amen.