Year B- Fourth Sunday of Easter
11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of JesusJesus is the Good Shepherd announced in the Sacred Scriptures of the Old Testament, He is the long awaited Messiah, the liberator, the one who comes to forgive, to heal, to bless, to teach, to warn and to sanctify those who listen to Him. He is the promissed one.
Ezek 34:16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
A shepherd is the most important person in the lives of the sheep. By nature, sheep are dumb, they lose their way very easily, they have no sense of orientation, they seem to always look down and don't care much about their welfare. If they are not shown where to pasture, they may die for lack of food; if they fall into a ditch, they are not resourceful enough to free themselves, if they get hurt, they don't heal quickly and need a lot of care, without a shepherd they are doomed.
God uses this imagery to show us how careless we are, how materialistic we are, that we prefer to look down on the things of the world instead of looking up into the spritual world offered by our Good Shepherd. Without the Holy Spirit we behave like dumb sheep, and we tend to forget that we are made in the image of God.
Jesus himself assumes the name of the Lamb and goes even further by giving his life for us in sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins; in the words of John the Baptist He is the lamb who takes away the sins of the world, his condition is humble in respect to His Father, but He is the leader of the flock of God, He is the ruler and the one who washes our sins with his Precious Blood. By his wounds we have been healed.
With his rod he will reprimand, with his staf he will pull back those who go astray, in his mercy he will forgive those who do wrong, in his tenderness he will heal those who are hurt, with his word, his flesh and blood he will feed those who are hungry, because he cares for us.
His kingdom is not of this world, it is the kingdom within our hearts, where we have the option to love the One who cares for us by keeping his commandments or despised him and crucify him again with our ingratitud and our sinfulness.
Jesus did not come to condem the world, but to save it. He does not reject the sinner, he looks at him as a shepherd looks at a strayed sheep, he looks for it and when he finds it he will comfort it and bring it back to Him.
In the end he will raise us up on the last day, he will separate the sheep from the goats and will reward the faithful with everlasting life.
The joy of God is fullfiled when a sinner repents, his joy becomes his glory when we are always close to him and thank him and praise him.
God loved the world so much that He became a man, he died for us and he taught us how to live for him. He wants the best for everyone of us, he is patient and kind, he will wait, he knows what we are made of. But we receive so much from Him, that we begin to learn more and more what he desires from everyone of us.
What He wants is what He gives: "LOVE".
The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. The Lord loves me with exageration, he even suffered and died for me. For my part I will try my best to be always faithful to him, I will love Him, I will love others, I will remember always that I am nothing without Him.
The Lord is my Shepherd.
Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary
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