The Good Shepherd,
Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome
Circa 200 AD,
Fresco painting
© Christian Art

The Good Shepherd,
Catacombs of Priscilla, Rome
Circa 200 AD,
Fresco painting
© Christian Art

Gospel of 21 April 2024

Jesus said: 'I am the good shepherd'

John 10:11-18

Jesus said:

'I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern 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 my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd.

'The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father.'

Reflection on the Catacomb Fresco Painting

The earliest Christian art is to be found in the catacombs in Rome. One of the images of Jesus that you find there is that of the Good Shepherd. Jesus is portrayed as a young beardless man with a sheep draped around his shoulders. A sheep stands to his right and a goat to his left. Clearly the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd that we find in today’s gospel reading spoke to Christians from the earliest days of the church. Perhaps one of the reasons why it appealed is because it conveyed something of the personal nature of the relationship between Jesus and his followers.

The image from the catacombs communicates a sense of the close personal connection that the shepherd has with his individual sheep. The shepherd had gone looking for the one sheep that has wandered off and, having found it, he is taking the sheep on his shoulders back to the flock. There is a personal bond between the shepherd and this one sheep. That is what Jesus conveys in today’s gospel reading. He declares that he knows his own and his own know him, just as the Father knows him and he knows the Father. Jesus is saying that the relationship that he has with each one of us is as intimate as the relationship that he has with his heavenly Father. When it comes to the Lord, we are not just one of a crowd, lost in a sea of faces. The Lord relates to us in a personal way and he invites us to relate to him in a personal way.

Fresco painting in the catacombs involved applying pigments directly onto wet plaster, allowing the colours to be absorbed into the surface as it dried. This technique created durable and long-lasting paintings that adorned the walls and ceilings. The colours have lasted remarkably well, as there hasn't been exposure to direct sunlight. These paintings served as a form of visual storytelling and expression of faith for the early Christian community, providing comfort and inspiration to those who visited the catacombs to honour the memory of their loved ones and to worship together in times of persecution.

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Dario hernandez
Member
Dario hernandez
1 month ago

Es una pintura muy magnífica donde se refleja la soberanía de Dios sobre el ser humano nos da entender que somos sus ovejas y conocemos su voz

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago

The traditional Sunday for prayers for vocations…I have a young man with whom I might plant just a seed of consideration… One young chap where I did that before ,I discovered is now a Canon!! Bishop one day 🤔?
We remembered past priests of our parish as well at Mass and I felt particularly blessed at some of the names and faces that came to my mind.. wonderful priests, wonderful men.
I read the other day that there are currently 49 seminarians currently studying for the priesthood at Allen Hall 😁 Good. More please Lord.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago

Really. But remember they closed down our seminary at Wonersh.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

Hmm..not without reason as I seem to recall, though the main one being lack of seminarians.

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
1 month ago

Remebering past priests is a wonderful idea- we have had so many. We had a missionary appeal and the priest went on and on…I struggled with him repeating himself over and over.

Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

😂 I the old days, in such instances, the nuns always told us to “offer it up”
Nice to see you SfG.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  spaceforgrace

We had the guy in charge of the parish finances after Mass today. He went on for ten minutes which is pretty long at the end when everyone has half sprung off the pew!
It seemed to me there weren’t in too bad shape but he wants us to give more….

Readings related to John 10:11-18

22 April 2024

John 10:1-10

Jesus said: 'I am the gate of the sheepfold'

12 May 2019

John 10: 27-30

The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice

3 April 2020

John 10:31-42

They accused Jesus of blasphemy

3 May 2020

John 10:1-10

The sheep hear his voice

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