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Key words and phrases: Good Shepherd, lays down his life, lay down my life, hear my voice, one flock, Father loves, lay down my life, lay it down, lay it down, command I have received
To the point: What is the command Jesus received from his Father? That he be the Good Shepherd by laying down his life for his sheep. That he gather all people into one flock by laying down his life for his sheep. We, Jesus' disciples, receive the same command from him. We are not to be "hired" hands but good shepherds who, by listening to his voice leading us, lay down our lives for others. In the Father's love we too gather all people into one flock by laying down our lives for others. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. So are we to be.
To the First reading: Because "the Father has bestowed on us" great love, we are able, like Jesus, to lay down our lives for others.
To experience: As human beings we have a hard time being faithful about loving. The whole Easter mystery reveals to us how utterly faithful God is in loving us. We can be faithful in our own loving because God is faithful in loving us.