VATICAN CITY (CNS) — God is portrayed as a good shepherd in both the Old and New Testaments.

The well-known and beloved Psalm 23 is probably the most famous example:

“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.


“In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.”

In the Gospel of St. John, Jesus defines himself not just as a shepherd, but as a “good” shepherd. Sister Elena Bosetti, a member of the Sisters of Jesus Good Shepherd and an Italian biblical scholar, said the description “good” in the passage’s original Greek also means “beautiful,” something wholesome that attracts people.

John 9:11-18 features Jesus telling his disciples:

“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.

“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. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”