Reflections - April 22, 2018

“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me…..I will lay down my life for the sheep.” Jn. 10:14-15.
In this Gospel Jesus reveals himself as the Good Shepherd, a very known image in the peasant culture of the people of Israel.  It was also a lesson for those who had power to control and direct spiritually the people of God.  Jesus teaches them what was the true image of a spiritual guide to the people of God.
Jesus, first of all, uses the image of the shepherd of sheep by assuming in His life that image for simple people.  There are in the life of Jesus other images.  He also assumes the image of the one who “was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me no drink…..”.  Mt. 25:42.
In this image of the Good Shepherd He tells us, “that He is our guide and that He wants to have a personal relationship with each one of us”.  “I know mine and mine know me”.  What a tremendous pastoral lesson for a good evangelization!  The Lord wants to say to you that your problems, your history, your existential and spiritual crises are not alien to Him.
We trust in our Good Shepherd because He is willing to give His life for His sheep.  How much confidence and peace it gives us to know that our Good Shepherd does not abandoned us in the difficult moments of life. Jesus never says, as some in our society and culture say:  “That is your problem”.  He also does not say to us based on human wisdom:  “Do not cast on the shoulders of others your troubles, assume them yourself for everyone has their burden to carry”.  That seems a very human expression, but as Pope Francis says:  “It is human, but it is not Christian….”
The Lord as the Good Shepherd knows the dangers that lurk.  The Apostle Peter says:  “Evil, like a roaring lion, looks for whom to devour, resist him firmly in faith”.  1 Pet 5:8.  Do not be afraid, the Lord accompanies you and with his “staff” sends away the enemies of the faith, the world, the flesh, and evil.  He is our Good Shepherd.  How well the Psalm expresses this:  “Better to take refuge in the Lord than to put one’s trust in mortals.”  Ps 118:8.
I do not wish to end without inviting you to pray for priestly and religious vocations on this Sunday of the Good Shepherd.  Pray that the Lord gives us the discernment to connect our pastoral care to the realities of our families and young people who sometime feel “as sheep eager to be welcomed and heard”.  Amen.