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Gregory Nazianzen and John Chrysostom on the Good Shepherd

April 26, 2012

Here are two more thoughts on the Good Shepherd from Faith and Life: readings compiled from ancient writers:

Christ is a Shepherd, for He makes us to dwell in a green place, and brings us up beside the water of refreshment, and guides us on our way onward, and fights for us against the wild beasts, and turns back the sheep that strays, and brings back that which was lost, and binds up that which was bruised, and guards the strong, and by the words of His pastoral wisdom gathers us into the fold above.

–St. Gregory Nazianzen, Oration xxxvi.

“I am the Good Shepherd.” Here He proceeds to speak of the Passion, showing that this takes place for the salvation of the world, and that He does not come to it unwillingly. I pray you, let us remain feeding under the care of the Shepherd; and we shall remain, if we listen to His voice, if we obey Him, if we do not follow an alien. And of what kind is His voice?  It says, ” Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the merciful.” If such is our character, we shall remain under the Shepherd, and the wolf will not be able to find entrance; or if he enter, he will do so to his own loss. For we have a Shepherd who loves us so dearly as even to give up His life for us. Since, then, He is both powerful and loving, what is to hinder us from being saved? Nothing, unless we ourselves fall away.

–St. Chrysostom on St. John, Hom. lix.

I’d say Gregory is definitely meditating on Psalm 23!

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