Sts. Philip and James
Sunday is often referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. For one who practices the art of shepherding in the name of Jesus, there is a particular power found in the readings of the day, particularly the Gospel reading from John: "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."
Of late we have been doing a particularly good job of not being one. No one gets a pass when it comes to bearing a degree of responsibility for this. Perhaps, the words of New Testament scholar Gerald Sloyan should give us something to ponder: "The game of picking one’s “thieves and robbers, “one’s other sheep not of this fold,” is an old one…. All Christians worthy of the name must have the minimum conviction that their church or congregation is fully allied with Jesus in his work of bringing salvation to the world. They must decide whether they treasure him as a principle of unity or a principle of division."
Now there is a novel idea: Jesus in his work of bringing salvation as a principle of unity!