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Bede

Peter – Universal Shepherd

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Jesus refers to himself as a shepherd

"I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." (Jn 10:11)

 

He has a flock

"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." (Jn 10:16)

 

He is the successor of King David whom God promised would look after his sheep (Ez 34:23)

 

Then in John 21:15-17 he asks Peter to be the shepherd of his sheep

'When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep”' (Jn 21:15-17).

 

Jesus is still the good shepherd, the sheep still belong to him, but he is giving them into Peter’s charge to look after on his behalf.

 

Jesus has said about his sheep “they will hear my voice”. He also said to those to whom he gave authority “whoever listens to you listens to me” (Lk 10:16). So when the Pope, as the successor of Peter, speaks under authority of Jesus then we hear Jesus our good shepherd.

 

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