The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Parenting a God-given job to shepherd the lambs

Published: September 8, 2023   
Bishop Anthony B. Taylor

Have you ever seen that picture of the Good Shepherd carrying a newly rescued baby lamb? If you've ever comforted a puppy frightened into incontinence, you can easily imagine that frightened little lamb there on his shoulders — relieved in more ways than one. 

But the Good Shepherd ignores the mess and does whatever it takes to bring him safely home. Jesus is that Good Shepherd. In today's Gospel he was moved with pity for the crowds because they lacked good shepherds, so he summoned 12 of his disciples, gave them a new job title — apostles, which means those sent forth; men with a mission — and put them to work pastoring God's flock: seeking out the lost and bringing them safely home. 

Today we celebrate Father's Day, which is a good time to recall that I am not the only pastor in this room: you parents also have a mission to shepherd, pastor so to speak, your family, the domestic Church God has put in your care. 

Just like any good shepherd, you parents do have to go looking for your little — and not so little — lost lambs when they stray. Sometimes you have to carry them back — even drag them back — and you always carry them in your heart, especially when they act stupid and make a mess of things and need all the comforting you can give. So on this Father's Day I want to remind especially you fathers that this is your most important God-given job: to shepherd the (little and not-so-little) lambs God has entrusted to you. You're a man with a mission! Sometimes your lambs are really cute, but sometimes they're really stupid — and it's when they're at their ugliest that they need you the most.

"Just like any good shepherd, you parents do have to go looking for your little — and not so little — lost lambs when they stray."

The Good Shepherd expends all that energy to rescue his little lost lamb because despite it all he still loves him, is worried sick about him and wants him safely home. In today's Gospel Jesus sends his original 12 apostles forth as men with a mission to care for his flock, and on this Father's Day I want to remind you fathers that you are men with a mission too: a mission to do whatever it takes to shepherd faithfully your part of God's flock, including sacrificing yourself for them — just like Jesus our Good Shepherd and those original apostles did for us —  especially when they stray.


Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily June 18.

Bishop Taylor wants you to know more about your faith and the Church: Read Arkansas Catholic's free digital edition.

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