The Good Shepherd

(Fr Paul’s sermon notes for the Children’s Address)

What’s this?  (CAT)

What’s this? (DOG)

What’s this? (RABBIT)

Do any of you have a cat as a pet?

A dog?

A rabbit?

Any other kind of pet?

Do you look after your pets/

What sort of things do you have to do?

(FEED, KEEP CLEAN, TAKE FOR WALKS, TAKE TO VET WHEN ILL etc, etc)

It’s a big responsibility, isn’t it?

Now what’s this? (SHEEP)

What sort of people look after sheep? (Think of Christmas) (SHEPHERDS)

Modern shepherds/sheep farmers don’t have some of the problems of olden times – WOLVES, LIONS, BEARS, but they still have to guard sheep against bad weather, disease and things like that, even the lambs from birds of prey or foxes.

Who is this (JESUS)

Jesus called himself “the Good Shepherd”. Can you think why? Who might be his sheep?

Jesus watches over us, cares about us, but not because he thinks of us as his pets, or farmyard animals. He cares about us because he is our friend and our brother. He wants us to be safe from harm of any sort.

In old times, shepherds would keep the flock safe at night by bringing them into a sheepfold (PICTURE), a walled are with only one way in and out. The entrance might be closed with a gate, or the shepherd himself might lie down to sleep across the entrance, so that no wild animal or robber could get in without waking him up.

That’s the picture Jesus wants us to have of the way he looks after us. As long as we are following Jesus, he can keep us safe from harm; but only if we trust him and follow him.

Jesus said, “I am the door of the sheep”. He meant, he himself guards the way in and out of the safe place. I hope you all say your prayers regularly? Praying is just talking to Jesus as your friend, telling him your worries, asking him to help you to be more like him. We all should be “good shepherds” to one another, taking care of one another and being friends.