Acts 13:14, 43-52; Ps 100:1-3, 5; Revelation 7:9, 14b-17; John 10:27-30
Now we have finished our meditations about the resurrection gospel stories. This Sunday for all three of the Sunday cycle of readings is Good Shepherd Sunday. For a few weeks the Liturgy will turn 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 of shepherds and flocks of sheep are not given much in John 10 because the images were so common. Psalm 23 gives us more of the image. Shepherds care for, comfort and protect their flocks. They are their “bread and butter.” Jesus wants to do this for all of us. We are his sheep and can often get lost. Let’s prayerfully read Psalm 23.
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 fear 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 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 tocome (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 offers us his care 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, a Polish nun, in the 1930s, that even if a person were to contemplate the love and mercy of God for all eternity, they cold 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.
Jesus is available each day as our “daily bread,” at Mass and in our daily prayer life. Ask Jesus to pierce your heart with more of his love. 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.
I pray that Jesus will wrap each of you reading these words, in his loving arms this week and always.
Peace and all good,
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(@ 2016 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)