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Daily Devotional for January 3

January 3                                                           John 10:7-17

You tell us, Jesus, that you are the good shepherd. In Biblical
times, the nomadic shepherd's life meant traveling great
distances with the flock in search of fresh pasturelands. Like
the good shepherd, you have travelled with me through the
changing seasons of my life. And when I strayed from the main
body of your church flock, you sought me out and helped me
find my way back to the faith community.

In inclement weather the protective shepherd leads the sheep
to a safe shelter and, when predators lurk, defends them against
bandits or beasts of prey. Jesus, I have felt the harsh and windy
climate of social rejection because of being different. I have
seen the bands of ecclesiastical predators expel lesbian and
gay Christians from our churches, relegate women to second-
class citizenship, and support government policies that oppress
the poor. But like the good shepherd, you are there to gather
the sheep together, to give us comfort and support in each
other's presence, and to assure us that we are safe because you
are at our side.

The good shepherd has a remarkable rapport with the flock,
whose members recognize the shepherd's voice. With perfect
confidence, the herd will follow wherever the shepherd leads.
I too want that extraordinary relationship with you. When
I hear your voice calling me to risk being just who I am yet
another time, I wish to trust that, despite initial discomfort
or tension, the end result will be a greater dignity and a sense
of well-being within me.

Unlike the hired hand, who feels a diminished sense of respon-
sibility because of a lack of ownership, the good shepherd's
commitment to care for the sheep reaches the ultimate, a
willingness to die for them if necessary. I am humbled and
feel your love anew each time I realize that you did just that:
you gave your life for me.

Help me today, Jesus, to imitate your selfless love by doing
one kind act for another. Amen.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.


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