This is the second in a series of 2 posts by our children's pastor, Josie Ortega, explaining more about Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS). Part 1 gave background and explanation of the method; now, part 2 offers an example of that method in action. Below is a homily given by Josie in the style of CGS at our evening prayer service on Sunday, June 17. Her text was John 10:1-18.
I’m going to read our Gospel lesson for today in a similar way that I would for 3-6 year olds. This is a great practice for adults, too: working to find simplicity in our words, creating space for silence. It’s also a reminder that we don’t ever master scripture, so that we’ve got it in our brains and need never come back to it. No, we re-visit God’s words for us again and again.
So I’m going to invite you to listen to Jesus’ words from John 10 with a childlike posture. I’ll leave some nice long pauses as we all meditate on Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
This image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is the central concept in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. The women who developed Catechesis observed that the Good Shepherd concept resonated deeply with the children--and over the years we’ve seen that this is the case across all cultures and income levels. It seems that this story meets two important needs for young children: the need for relationship, and the need for protective love. To be known, and to be safe.
Before we read together, I’ll ask you to think for a moment about where you might feel those needs yourself. The need to be in relationship, to be known. The need to be protected, to be safe. Or, where do you feel unknown? Where do you feel unsafe?
All the kids and adults here have heard about Jesus. Jesus is always inviting us to come to know him better and better.
When He lived on earth in the land of Israel, people wanted to know more about him, so they listened to him carefully and watched him closely. And even though they knew his name, they would sometimes ask, “Who are you?”
Once, he answered and told them that he was the Good Shepherd. We know that a shepherd is someone who looks after sheep. But Jesus doesn’t just say he’s a shepherd, but a “good” shepherd. We wonder what makes him so good? What does he want us to know about himself? Let’s listen to His words in the Bible to know.
The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life 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 the shnd I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
What makes him so good? He knows his sheep, calls them by name. Gives them everything they need, lays down his life.
How happy the sheep must be to have such a good shepherd. It makes us wonder, who could these sheep be?
Continue to think about what makes Him so good and who these sheep are He loves so much.
Want to learn more?
Here’s a video that shows a little more about what Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is like. Here’s a running wishlist that we’ll keep up to date with some items that we could use in the atrium (i.e. classroom), and there are more items on our church registry. Please contact me if you want to learn more or help out in another way!