Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth,
where thou feedest, where thou makest
thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I
be as one that turneth aside by
the flocks of thy companions?
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women,
go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock,
and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents..—Song of Songs 1:7-8

Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.—Jeremiah 3:14-15

We have heard the Lord Jesus setting forth to us the duty of a good shepherd. In doing so, He has certainly admonished us (as we are able to understand) to be good shepherds. At the same time, lest the plurality of shepherds should be perversely misunderstood, He says, “I am the Good Shepherd.” And He goes on to show how He is so; “the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep.” Christ, then, is the Good Shepherd. What was Peter? was not he a good shepherd? Yes, he was; nothing, indeed, in comparison of the power and goodness of the Shepherd of shepherds; but still he was both a shepherd and a good one; and all others of his sort are good shepherds.’ What then is the reason that Thou settest forth one Shepherd to the good shepherds, save that in the one Shepherd Thou art giving a lesson of unity? “I am the Good Shepherd,” because all the others, all good shepherds, are members of Me. There is one Head, one body, one Christ. Therefore there is both the Shepherd of shepherds, and the shepherds belonging to the Shepherd, and the sheep with the shepherds under the Shepherd. What is this but what the Apostle says, “As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ?” If then so is Christ, it is with reason that Christ, including in Himself all good shepherds, sets forth one, saying, ” I am the Good Shepherd.” I am He, I am one, all are one in unity with Me. He that feeds the sheep apart from Me, feeds them in opposition to Me. To this Shepherd of shepherds with good reason does His beloved spouse, His fair one (but made fair by Him—once foul with sins, afterwards beautiful by pardon and grace), speak with ardent affection for Him, and say to Him, “Where feedest Thou’?”
–St. Augustine, Sermon cxxxviii.

Photo credits: Sebastião Salgado