Friars Corner: Jesus is my Shepherd!

Acts 4:8-12; Ps 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18

Now we have finished our meditations about the resurrection gospel stories. For a few weeks the Liturgy turns to some of the famous "I am" statements in St. John’s Gospel. They were common images the people could easily understand. Lambs were used for daily sacrifices in the Jerusalem temple and especially for the Passover, the remembrance of freedom from Egyptian slavery. Jesus is our shepherd and we are his sheep. In his suffering and death he took on our sins and disobedience to God, so we could come back into a good relationship in God’s family.

The details are not given in today’s readings because the images were so common. Psalm 23 gives us so many of the comforts, protections and blessings of being called by name and held in the arms of Jesus our good shepherd.

The Lord (Jesus) is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths for his Name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley, I feat no evil; for you are at my side.
With Your rod and staff that give me courage.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes (daily Mass);
You anoint my head with oil (in the various sacrament){{sacraments)}} my cup overflows.
Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come (in heaven if we follow his way).

As we slowly read through this psalm we want the various images to seep deep into our mind and heart. These are some of the multiple ways Jesus cares for us each day. He knows each of us by name and is deeply in love with us. Not that we add any value to his greatness. Jesus told St. Faustina in the 1930s that even if a person were to contemplate the love and mercy of God for all eternity, they will not completely grasp the fullness of God’s love them. Jesus’ messages to us through St. Faustina really do pierce the depths of our being. "Try it; you will love it."

Jesus is available each day for all of us in the sacraments of his church and our daily prayer life. Invite him to pierce your heart. He will. Think of the prayer Jesus taught us. Our Father who are in heaven (yet he also lives inside us). Holy is Your Name. May your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.

May Jesus, our loving shepherd, make himself present to each of us each day in a tangible way we can experience.

Peace and all good, + Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2015 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)

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About Nancy Ward

Nancy HC Ward is a journalist, author, and speaker who blogs about Catholicism, her conversion, and Christian community at JoyAlive.net,
 7 websites and 7 magazines. She loves to share her faith story and help others share theirs through her Sharing Your Faith Stories seminars, also available on DVD. She contributed four chapters to The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion. She facilitates the Dallas/Fort Worth Catholic Writers and a critique group for the Catholic Writers Guild, where she serves as a board member.
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