Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Ps 23:1-6; 1 Peter 2:20b-25; John 10:1-10
Most of us who read this are deeply touched by Easter and all of its various Biblical stories. We have reflected on Divine Mercy Sunday and last week the two men who left disappointed to Emmaus. Now we have this image of Jesus as our good shepherd. We have been baptized, have received the Holy Spirit as our guide and repent regularly of our sins. What is needed more? How close or more deeply involved do we want to be with Jesus? This image of Jesus as our intimate shepherd I love so much. It is so comforting. Why?
Psalm 23 is easy to memorize and tells us a great deal about our life, struggles and success. Jesus is always with us and leading us. He brings us to verdant pastures during daily Mass or our prayer times with him. He wants to guide us on his right path so we don’t get confused and lost. We havecourage through life because Jesus is walking with us to protect us. He offers us himself as our daily food at Mass and prayer time. His goodness and kindness follow us yet like Jesus we have to carry our cross. There is much darkness and opposition to God in our culture and world. Yet Jesus is there always to guide us if we seek to follow him.
This section of St. John chapter 10 doesn’t tell us a lot about shepherds because John presumes that his listeners were well acquainted with that reality. If sheep and shepherds were closer to town the sheep would be brought near town in a common pen. In the morning each shepherd would go to get his or her sheep, leading them out to pasture. The gatekeeper would open the gate and each shepherd would call out their own sheep. Their sheep knew their voice and would follow their own shepherd, not a stranger.
Jesus is both the loving shepherd of his flock and the gate through which the sheep come and go without fear. Sheep farming today may be quite different. Yet as we deepen in faith over the years we come to know more the love of Jesus for us and can hear his voice of love in many ways. It is comforting. Jesus knows us by name. He has our best interest in mind and wants to care for us if we let him. Sometimes in prayer I imagine cuddling up next to Jesus as he “rests” under a tree near his flock. Yet at times I find him picking me up and holding me next to his heart. You could try that. You may be surprised by the results.
I want to wish all mothers a very blessed Mother’s Day. I see you all as the industrial managers of your home. What a glorious work you do for your husbands, bringing up God’s children and helping so many others. I shall pray for you all in a special way today.Have a good week, + Fr. Bob Hilz (© 2014 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)