From Saint Andrew Daily Missal
“I am the good Shepherd. I know My sheep and my sheep know Me.”
To-day* is called “Good Shepherd Sunday”. For, in the epistle, St. Peter himself, made by the risen Lord head and chief Pastor of His Church, tells us that Christ is the shepherd of our souls, which were like wandering sheep They are gathered round Him who came to give His life for them. The gospel relates the touching parable of the good shepherd who defends his sheep against the wolf, and protects them from death (Collect); and foretells that the heathen will come to join the Jews of the Old Law and to form with them one only Church and flock, under one shepherd.
These our Lord recognizes as His sheep and like the disciples at Emmaus, whose eyes were opened at the breaking of the bread, at the altar when the priest consecrates the Host which is the memorial of our Lord’s passion, they acknowledge that Christ is “the Good Shepherd who gives His life that He may feed His sheep with His Body and Blood” (St. Gregory). Raising their eyes to Him (Offertory), they pour forth to Him their gratitude for His great mercy (Introit).
“It was in those days,” says St. Leo, “that the Holy Ghost was bestowed upon all the apostles by our Lord’s breathing upon them, and that the blessed apostle Peter, raised above the rest, having already received the keys of the kingdom, saw the care of the Lord’s flock committed to his charge” (Second nocturn). This was the first step in the founding of the Church.
Let us press round the divine Shepherd of our souls, hidden in the Eucharist and whose visible representative is the Pope, Pastor of the Universal Church.
Introit: Ps. xxxii. 5-6
Misericordia Domini plena est terra, alleluia: verbo Domini caeli firmati sunt, alleluia, alleluia. Exsultate, justi, in Domino: rectos decet collaudatio.
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, alleluia, alleluia. * Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: praise is comely for the upright.
Deus, qui in Fllii tui humilitate jacentem mundum erexisti, fidelibus tuis perpetuam concede laetitiam; ut, quos perpetuae mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis.
O God, who by the humility of Thy Son hast raised up a fallen world, grant to Thy faithful people abiding joy; that those whom Thou hast delivered from the perils of eternal death, Thou mayest cause to enjoy endless happiness.
Epistle: 1 Peter ii. 21-25
Lesson from the Epistle of blessed Peter the Apostle. Dearly beloved, Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Who when He was reviled, did not revile: when He suffered, He threatened not, but delivered Himself to him that judged Him unjustly: who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray: but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.
Gospel: John x. 11-16
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. John.
At that time Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and flieth: and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd: and I know Mine, and Mine know Me, as the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father : and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
Offertory: Ps. lxii, 2, 5
O God, my God, to Thee do I watch at break of day; and in Thy name I will lift up my hands, alleluia.
(* “Good Shepherd Sunday” is on the Second Sunday after Easter in the Tridentine liturgical calendar, and on the Third Sunday after Easter in the Novus Ordo.)
Homily by Pope St Gregory the Great
“Dearly beloved brethren, ye have heard from the Holy Gospel what is at once your instruction, and our danger. Behold, how He Who, not by the varying gifts of nature, but of the very essence of His being, is Good, behold how He saith: I am the Good Shepherd. And then He saith what is the character of His goodness, even of that goodness of His which we must strive to copy: The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the Sheep. As He had foretold, even so did He; as He had commanded, so gave He ensample. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, and made His Own Body and His Own Blood to be our Sacramental Food, pasturing upon His Own Flesh the sheep whom He had bought. He, by despising death, hath shown us how to do the like; He hath set before us the mould wherein it behoveth us to be cast. Our first duty is, freely and tenderly to spend our outward things for His sheep, but lastly, if need be, to serve the same by our death also. From the light offering of the first, we go on to the stern offering of the last, and, if we be ready to give our life for the sheep, why should we scruple to give our substance, seeing how much more is the life than meat? And some there be which love the things of this world better than they love the sheep; and such as they deserve no longer to be called shepherds. These are they of whom it is written: But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth. He is not a shepherd but a hireling which feedeth the Lord’s sheep, not because he loveth their souls, but because he doth gain earthly wealth thereby. He that taketh a shepherd’s place, but seeketh not gain of souls, that same is but an hireling; such an one is ever ready for creature comforts, he loveth his pre-eminence, he groweth sleek upon his income, and he liketh well to see men bow down to him.”