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The good news for the day, May 8, 2017

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter (279)

Jesus said: “I am the responsible shepherd. A responsible shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man—someone not a good shepherd, whose sheep are not his own—sees a wolf coming, abandons the sheep, and runs away; then the wolf catches and scatters them. This happens because he is working just for the paycheck, and has no concern for the sheep. I am the responsible shepherd. I recognize mine and mine recognize me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. I will lay down my life for the sheep. I do have other sheep not belonging to this flock. These also I must lead; they will hear my voice, and there will be just one flock, just one shepherd. Right here is why The Father loves me—because I lay down this life of mine just so that I can take it up again. Nobody takes my life away from me; I lay it down on my own. I have control to lay it down, and control to take it up again. This directive I got from my Father.” (John 11)

Sometimes the connections of His poetry make Jesus seem confusing as He seems to jump from topic to topic. So, you gotta think it through.

The sheep of the “good shepherd” are under attack—by hungry, thieving, and even murderous “bad guys.” For our indifference to cultural prejudices, because of our respect for ALL fellow, because of apparent weakness that is humility, and in a thousand other ways that we follow Jesus—you and I are laughed at, name-called, and even persecuted in the truest sense of the word. Powerful people—Pharisees and Politicians of today—don’t like your independence and personal convictions. Some friends might even mock you for your interest in morality, repentance and hunger to deepen faith beyond “what everybody else does.”

As your old life dies, your responsibility for one another grows. (“We are Jesus—we are all ‘good shepherds.’”). You have control about laying down your old life of the flesh—your perhaps irritated acceptance of Creation—and in that process rise to strength—a life of living in the Love of God. You find in yourself that His “encouraging directive” of selflessness becomes a permanent core of quiet joy.

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