“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.”

Several years ago I preached at a First Communion liturgy at Gesu Parish in Milwaukee, WI.  On this particular Sunday, instead of preaching from the ambo, I walked up and down the main aisle of the church going on and on about the good deeds of the Good Shepherd.  Unbeknownst to me, a two-year old had wandered out from one of the pews.

At some point he must have became aware he was lost and the next thing I knew, this little one began tugging at my vestments.  I reached down and pulled him up into my arms.  At that point I stopped preaching.  Why go on?  What had just happened became a real life example of the Good Shepherd that looks out after each one of us.

Where have I allowed the Good Shepherd to find me?

—Fr. Michael Bayard, S.J. serves as Provincial Assistant for parishes and spiritual ministries of the Oregon and California Jesuit provinces.