In Our Lord’s time almost every family had its own small flock of six or seven sheep, and a son in the family was its shepherd. The villagers together owned a sheepfold, which was a stone walled corral where the sheep slept at night. The shepherds from the families took turns staying awake at the sheepfold’s gate.
At dawn the first of the town’s shepherd boys would arrive at the gate where he was recognized and admitted by that night’s gatekeeper. Finding all the village’s sheep asleep on the grass, he would make a clicking sound that was familiar only to the seven or eight sheep of his flock. They would stumble to their feet, and follow him, while all the other sheep remained sleeping.
Monsignor Dan Logan, the long-time President of Bishop Kenny High School, believed in strong discipline. In Ireland he had known people who kept sheep, and he had seen them driving their sheep with a switch; so he didn’t believe that sheep in the Holy Land would follow their shepherd’s voice. However, on a trip over there he found that the Gospel accounts are true. Sheep over there do just follow their shepherd’s voice.
The Gospel tells us that Jesus is the one true shepherd. When we are teaching religion, the people must be able to hear the ring of the Good Shepherd’s voice, or they will not follow us.