The Lamb of God
Dear Friend of Saint Jude,
I prayed for your intentions as I walked in the footsteps of Jesus and Saint Jude in the Holy Land. After picking up a lamb I wanted to share with you my reflection on Christ as the good shepherd who goes in search of His sheep to bring them safely home.
Years ago I met a family in Wyoming who had sheep. During the summer months, the ranchers would lead their flock up into the mountains for greener pastures after the lower fields became barren. Going up into the wilderness requires vigilance in protecting the flock from wolves and bears. The mountains can also be hit with snowstorms in the early Fall. This too is a danger for the sheep because they can get buried under snowdrifts and suffocate.
One day we saw a snowstorm approaching and started to gather the flock out of a ravine. But a small group of sheep could not be reached on horseback and remained in a dangerous spot. I’ll never forget how the rancher got off his horse and walked down the steep ravine to pick up the smallest lamb and place it on his shoulders. At first, I thought he was just going to rescue the one sheep before the storm hit but as he started walking back the mother of the lamb started crying and began following him up the mountain. Soon the remaining sheep followed her as they moved up to higher ground.
Sometimes God takes a little lamb from our midst and we don’t understand what the shepherd is doing. We don’t realize that being on the shoulders of the shepherd is the safest place possible. We also can’t see the approaching storm that would suffocate us if we were to remain where we are. Saint Jude understands our sorrows and questions because he did not know what the Good Shepherd was doing on Holy Thursday, which is why he asked Jesus the question during the Last Supper: Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world? (Jn 14:22).
Saint Jude certainly didn’t understand what the lamb of God was doing on Good Friday. But all of that changed on Easter Sunday when the light of the Resurrection broke through the storm of death itself. After Pentecost, Saint Jude was on fire with the Holy Spirit as he followed the lamb of God wherever he would go. As an apostle, Saint Jude had the heart of a shepherd. He knows the way out of impossible situations and is willing to carry us on his shoulders so that we will reach higher ground.
Saint Jude, Pray for us!
Fr. Gabriel Gillen, O.P.
Rosary Shrine of Saint Jude