“Let us remember that love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving. Without sacrifice, there is no love.” - St. Maximilian Kolbe: (1894 –1941: was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar, who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German death camp of Auschwitz, located in German-occupied Poland during World War II)
Gospel Text: (JN 10:11-18)
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."
“What are we invested in?”
The example of a hired hand who runs away at any sign of danger grabs my attention. He runs away, and why shouldn’t he? He has no real investment in what happens, no deep connection that would cause him to stay.
I think asking ourselves what we are invested in is really important because otherwise we’ll always just be running away from things and avoiding any type of conflict, won’t we?
What do I care about enough to take some risk or possibly face some pushback, disagreement, or negative consequences? I’m not talking about literally laying down one’s life here, because of the rarity of those situations, but those times in everyday life where it would just be easier to go along to get along. I sit in plenty of meetings where I might disagree with a decision or have a different opinion than someone else. When should I speak up, what issues are important enough to me, that I care enough about, to risk the tension that might ensue?
The Good Shepherd is invested enough in us to lay down his life. What are we invested in enough to take the risks that a hired hand, without a deep investment or commitment, isn’t willing to take?