Epiphany in the Atrium is a rich time. While some children continue to think about the lessons of Advent and Christmas, others review the Altar materials and also Gestures used in Holy Eucharist. We begin to hear some of the parables Jesus taught: the Mustard Seed, the Precious Pearl, the Yeast. And we return to the parable that gives the Catechesis its name: the Parable of the Good Shepherd.
Each day this week my mind has returned to the observations about the Good Shepherd shared by one of our 3 year olds. She and I began this lesson with help from one of our oldest children, a real advantage of having mixed ages together. All of us considered again the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep by name; the sheep that follow His voice; and the verse, “I have other sheep not in this flock here; I must bring them also.” (John 10:16)
My job as catechist is to present the Scripture and make room for the Holy Spirit to work. As we gathered the sheep back into the sheepfold, I heard myself saying aloud,
“I wonder how the sheep feel to be with the Good Shepherd in the sheepfold.”
A small voice said, “They feel good.”
I continued, “How does the Good Shepherd feel being so close to His sheep?”
The answer, “He feels happy.”
So complete was this picture of Shepherd and Sheep that any other words seemed superfluous. Later I continued the extensions of the Good Shepherd lesson with older children. In these we consider how the Shepherd calls His Sheep each week to the very particular place of Eucharist; as we did so, the simple words spoken earlier echoed in my mind. And as it turned out, this smallest child was quite an eavesdropper, too , for it was she who declared something to the others as she sat nearby, overhearing their lesson and me asking them if anything looked familiar.
When she saw the sheep gathered around the Altar, she said,
“They have Bread.”
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