Although a passage that is often referred to in Christian life (the image of Christ as the Good Shepherd is found in the earliest catacomb artworks), this selection for St. John's Gospel bears repeating.
I am the good shepherd.I pray to be a sheep who truly knows Christ "just as the Father knows [Jesus] and [He] know[s] the Father." It is this interior life of God--the relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, existing in perfect unison in the one person of God and in one Divine Will--that Jesus proclaims all of His sheep will share in as they know Him and He knows them.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
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.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This 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.
This command I have received from my Father.
God help us all to be truly sheep of our Good Shepherd.
Image: Tomb showing Christ as the good shepherd at the central cemetery of Kufstein, middle of the 19th century.