'I lay down my life for the sheep.' Sunday Reflections, Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
Christ the Good Shepherd, Murillo [WikiArt]
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
Gospel John 10:11-18 (New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition)
‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason 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 of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.’
(22 July 1878 or 1879 – 7 August 1942)
When St John Paul II canonised St Maximilian Kolbe OFMConv on 10 October 1982 he cited Janusz Korczak, a Jewish writer and teacher, who went to his death with a group of orphans in his charge although he had been offered the chance to be spared. He was also a pediatrician.