Laying down our lives
The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. This theme is found also in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) On the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a man fell in with robbers. A priest and a Levite came by, but did not stop to help. Despite their knowledge of the Law and Prophets, they walked right by. Why?
One of the reasons may be that they were afraid. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is a dangerous road. Because of its numerous steep curves, it lends itself to attacks by robbers who can easily hide not too far from their victims. Perhaps the priests and Levites who passed by that man asked themselves, "If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? Maybe the robbers who attacked him are still here. Maybe they're hiding just around the bend. This is a dangerous road. I better keep going."
Sometimes we ask the same question. If, for example, I speak up too loudly about the victims of abortion, what will happen to me? Will I face persecution, will I encounter opposition, will I lose popularity if I get involved in a cause like this?
And then the Good Samaritan came along, and he reversed the question. He didn't ask, "If I help this man, what will happen to me?" The Good Samaritan asked, "If I do not help this man, what will happen to him?" And that's the question for us. If I do not address this evil, what will happen to the unborn? If I do not get involved, what will happen to those who are vulnerable, to those who are marginalized our society, those who are oppressed, those who have no one to speak for them?