Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd.
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."
Lord Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to be
with you in prayer. My heart is ready to listen
to your words of eternal life so that I
may choose to follow you more closely on the path
of true love.
Petition: Lord, may I be
faithful to your will in my life.
1. I Lay
It Down: The Father entrusted Christ with a mission: Christ
was to bring about our salvation through a life
of unlimited self-giving, even to the point of giving
his own life. Being God he could repay the Father
for our sins; being man he could identify with
our fallen humanity and raise its dignity so that we
might become the Father’s children. Christ was the perfect
bridge between fallen man and an infinitely holy God.
His mission of bridging this chasm came about through
freely accepting the will of the Father. Our Lord would
receive nothing in return, and yet he was faithful
even to the point of death.
2. On My Own:
Jesus was not ordered to give himself for our
sins. He offered himself. Freedom is best used when it
willingly embraces God’s will, whatever the cost might be.
We have to remember that Jesus knew what lay
beyond his preaching and his miracles: the road to Calvary.
He spent many nights in prayer on the Mount
of Olives in preparation for his hour. He foretold
his fate to his disciples and continued forward towards this
end despite their misunderstanding. And in the end, when
the hour came, he proved faithful. When the hour
of darkness sought him, he stepped forward to say, “I
am he.” Christ never flinched in front of God’s
will. He felt its weight. Sorrow flooded his heart.
An easier path tugged at his humanity. But he proved
that love is stronger than death, that true freedom
can defeat sin and master it.
3. A Life
of Love: Perhaps offering ourselves to God frightens us.
What will he ask? What will I have to leave
behind? Will I be able to do it? However,
fear vanishes when we live out of love, like Christ.
We need to remember that the Father asked him
to die for us, and look at the fruits
this bore! Taking on our humanity, he left behind the
splendor of his divinity and raised us to a
new level. He did the impossible by bearing the weight
of all our sins. He trusted in the Father
to give him strength. Today we might be asked
to die more to our self-love, to leave behind a
vice we have been struggling with or to trust
that with grace we can live a truly Christian life
in a world hostile to Christianity. In the end,
if we love Christ, we will not be frightened
because he has already shown us the way –– and
he has already conquered.
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, give me the courage to be a
faithful Christian at all times and in all places, with
whomever I meet and in whatever I say. Help
me to give testimony to who you are.
I will offer one concrete act of
self-mastery for love of Christ today.