Sunday, April 18, 2010

Christ the Good Shepherd

Due to the readings and propers which were traditionally assigned for this Sunday, which tied into the theme of Christ as the Good Shepherd, today has often been referred to as "Good Shepherd Sunday".

If one visits the Roman catacombs, or looks at the early Christian art found in the Vatican museums or various Roman basilicas, one will see that the image of the Good Shepherd is a very common one. The Vatican website has this to say about it:

One of the images represented the most in the art of the catacombs is the Good Shepherd. While the model is taken from pagan culture, it immediately takes on a Christological significance inspired by the parable of the lost sheep. Christ is thus represented as a humble shepherd with a lamb on his shoulders as he watches over his little flock that is sometimes made up of only two sheep placed at his sides.

Here are just a few examples of this imagery which might be a good point for meditation today.

Detail from Sarcophagus of the Good Shepherd, found in the Catacomb of Praetextatus, Rome, ca. A.D. 390

3rd century, Catacomb of Domatilla

3rd century, Catacomb of Priscilla

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: