The image of the good shepherd is the image of a person who cares. He is not like the other, “who has no concern.” He takes the time to get to know others, and he cares so much that he will even give his life for others.
We belong to a church populated by caring individuals who give their lives for others: priests and nuns martyred in El Salvador; missionaries struggling in the remotest parts of the world; peace activists challenging the consciences of nations; sisters caring lovingly for the sick and dying.
What would happen if all of us cared, really cared, about our brothers and sisters who are hungry, homeless, helpless, mistreated, victimized, suffering, unemployed, impoverished, threatened, rejected? What would happen if all of us became good shepherds and cared? Wouldn’t the consequences be monumental if everyone in the Christian community became a good shepherd?
No one is permitted to disregard the plight of his brothers living in dire poverty, enmeshed in ignorance and tormented by insecurity.
Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio,1967:74
No one may claim the name Christian and be comfortable in the face of the hunger, homelessness, insecurity, and injustice found in this country and the world.
U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 1986: #27 (p.6).