Monday, April 16, 2018

I Am the Good Shepherd - April 22, 2018

The Fourth Sunday of Easter  -  Year B

Reading I:   Acts 4:8-12

Psalm:  118

Reading II:  1 John 3:1-2

Gospel:  John 10: 11-18

Our beautiful image of Jesus as our Shepherd has many aspects for reflection. We relish the very close relationship
between the sheep and the shepherd.
The sheep depend on their shepherd
for their food, their comfort and
their safety.

Unlike many other animals, the sheep are not likely to be able to survive on their own. Therefore, the shepherd leads the sheep to green pastures for grazing and calm waters to quench their thirst. Since sheep are not flexible enough to rid themselves of insects which attack their heads, the shepherd covers the heads of the sheep with oil to protect them.

When the sheep are being led along the sides of mountains, there is the danger that they will fall over the edge. The shepherd goes ahead of them tapping the grounds  to make sure they are secure before allowing the sheep to walk over them. In spite of this, sometimes a wandering sheep will get caught in bushes or go too close to the edge and fall over. The staff that the shepherd carries has a hook on the end which the shepherd can use to rescue a sheep that is in trouble. With all the care required, the sheep are closely connected to the shepherd.

Finally, the sheep are the prey of many animals, so the shepherd carries a rod (club) to ward off their attackers. In the evening, they are corralled and the shepherd watches over them, sometimes laying across the door of the corral to prevent anyone's stealing or harming the sheep. The shepherd who owns the sheep is willing to give up his life to save them.

Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd. We belong to Him and because of His close relationship with us, He willingly gave up His life for us.

 In his book, Who Is Christ?, Anthony Padovano wrote:

We are saved not by the physical death of Jesus, but by the absoluteness of a love which did not count death too high a price.

 Reflection Question:   When Peter declared his love for Jesus, Jesus asked him to feed His lambs and sheep. Is there a lamb or sheep that you think the Lord is asking you to care for in a special way?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...
Soy el Buen Pastor

Nuestra bella imagen de Jesús como nuestro Pastor tiene muchos aspectos para la reflexión. Disfrutamos de la relación muy estrecha entre las ovejas y el pastor. Las ovejas dependen de su pastor para su alimento, su comodidad y su seguridad.

A diferencia de muchos otros animales, es poco probable que las ovejas puedan sobrevivir por sí mismas. Por lo tanto, el pastor lleva a las ovejas a pastos verdes para pastoreo y aguas tranquilas para saciar su sed. Como las ovejas no son lo suficientemente flexibles como para librarse de los insectos que atacan sus cabezas, el pastor cubre las cabezas de las ovejas con aceite para protegerlas.

Cuando las ovejas son conducidas a lo largo de los lados de las montañas, existe el peligro de que caigan por el borde. El pastor va delante de ellos tocando los terrenos para asegurarse de que están seguros antes de permitir que las ovejas pasen por encima de ellos. A pesar de esto, a veces una oveja vagabunda queda atrapada en los arbustos o se acerca demasiado al borde y se cae. El bastón que lleva el pastor tiene un gancho en el extremo que el pastor puede usar para rescatar a una oveja que está en problemas. Con todo el cuidado requerido, las ovejas están estrechamente conectadas con el pastor.

Finalmente, las ovejas son presa de muchos animales, por lo que el pastor lleva una vara (bastón) para protegerse de sus atacantes. Por la noche, están acorralados y el pastor los vigila, a veces cruzando la puerta del corral para evitar que alguien robe o dañe a las ovejas. El pastor que posee la oveja está dispuesto a renunciar a su vida para salvarlos.

Jesús se describe a sí mismo como el Buen Pastor.  Le pertenecemos a Él y debido a su estrecha relación con nosotros, voluntariamente entregó su vida por nosotros.

En su libro,  ¿Quién es Cristo?, Anthonio Padovano escribió:

Somos salvados no por la muerte física de Jesús, pero por lo absoluto muerte demasiado alto precio de un amor que no cuenta.

 Pregunta de reflexión:    Cuando Pedro declaró su amor por Jesús, Jesús le pidió que le diera de comer a sus corderos y ovejas. ¿Hay un cordero u oveja que piensas que el Señor te está pidiendo que cuides de una manera especial?


  1. It would stand to reason that if Jesus was willing to give up His life for me then I would be eager to give my life to Him in return. In my heart this is true but in my day to day living I find myself pulling back. This recurring pattern is particularly perplexing to me given the depth of love and mercy that Jesus, as Good Shepherd, has for me. Much like the sheep, I would likely not be able to survive on my own. I know that Jesus has me covered. For all the times I have wandered astray, gotten lost, and fallen, His staff has rescued me. So why is it so hard to commit?
    Pope Benedict XVI, in his sermon on December 19, 2012, refers to us being “open totally to God,” and names Abraham as Father of believers and Mary as Mother of all believers. They modeled what “opening one’s soul to God and to his action in faith” looks like in daily ordinary life. “Those who open themselves totally to God come to accept the divine will, even though it is mysterious and often does not correspond with their own wishes.”
    Pope Francis gave a similar talk on January 25, 2017 stating, “having total faith and trust in God means recognizing that he always knows and wants what is best for us, even if it’s hard to accept because it doesn’t align with our own plans.” Pope Francis continues, “Trusting in God means to enter into his designs without demanding anything, even accepting that his salvation and his help should come to us in a different way from our expectations.” It is clear that the key issue is “my will” vs “Thy Will.”
    In the midst of drafting this post, I read an article entitled “Of Caterpillars and Butterflies,” by Sr. Ruth Burrows, a Carmelite nun at Quidenham Monastery in Norfolk, England. While I am well aware that we are talking sheep this week, after reading Sr. Burrows’ article, I see myself as a caterpillar.
    Sister’s theme is similar in nature to that of the Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. “The Father can only find an outlet for his love when a human creature consents to die to his own limited, merely natural life. The condition for being transformed into God’s likeness, for entering into his own dimension is-being ready to go beyond ourselves, allowing ourselves to be taken away from self, consenting to leave the limitations of our merely natural being.”
    My resistance to surrendering to God’s will is comparable to living a “caterpillar existence,” which occludes the possibility of conceiving a “butterfly existence.” It is frightening to be asked- “to be willing to die to our caterpillarness in order to be something we have no notion of.”
    I pretty much like being a caterpillar. I have “cabbage leaves to feed on,” my world is structured and manageable. “What’s all this about a new way of being? No thanks – I’d rather be as I am!”
    I’ve been so involved with “me” that I neglected to consider “God’s agonizing struggle…to get his human creatures to love and trust him enough to make the decision, to accept to die to their caterpillar life…”
    Jesus, the Good Shepherd, accepted to lay down his life. “This act was his supreme expression of the greatness of his love for his Father – that he, the Father, mattered alone, and that all Jesus wanted was to do his will, and to allow the Father to do in him and through him whatever he pleased.”
    Jesus calls himself the Good Shepherd to show the great intimacy that must exist between himself and the sheep entrusted to them. If I am truthful to myself, I yearn to experience that depth of relationship with Jesus. No human companionship nor material comfort can fulfill my soul’s desire for oneness with my creator. Current world events leave me pining for peace and I’m saddened that world leaders choose to rule with ego rather than soul. In that judgement, I see myself clinging to the desires of my ego. It is to my ego’s clutches that I must die so that I can hear my Shepherd’s call. Today, I release my control and surrender to Jesus’ loving care as the Good Shepherd of my life. Pat C., ASBS

  2. Sr. Therese M. Warner ,SBSApril 17, 2018 at 9:00 AM

    Thank you, Sister, for sharing those inspiring reflections about he Good Shepherd. They are appreciated.

    The following excerpts are from a homily delivered by Most Rev. Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles:

    "Traditionally, this fourth Sunday of Easter is known as "Good Shepherd Sunday" because each year the Church
    presents us with Our Lord's beautiful description of Himself as a Shepherd who has a tender, meaningful love for his sheep."

    "For many years now, the Church has also designated this Sunday as World Day of Prayer for Vocations. So, we pray today in a special way...that God will call many more to the great adventure of being shepherds for his flock."

    "The image of the Good Shepherd is deep in the Old Testament. In the Prophets and Psalms, God is the Shepherd; the people are his flock. Israel's priests were also shepherds - entrusted by God with feeding his people and guarding them in the ways of holiness and service."

    "The Good Shepherd is also a beautiful image of Jesus' love for us, my brothers and sisters. By this image He
    tells us of his mercy and tenderness in our lives. He also tells of the way in which we must be his disciples."

    "The Good Shepherd calls us to live by imitating his example of self-denial and self-giving. As He laid his life down for his sheep, every day we have to try to do a little more to eliminate the bad habits in our lives; and we must make sure, every single day, that we fill our lives with good deeds. Every day we have to work with his grace and try to live a little more accordingly to the example of the Good Shepherd."

    "So, today we ask for grace to make Jesus, the Good Shepherd, the model for our lives; and also, we should ask for the grace to try to be good shepherds for other
    people, beginning with those who are closest to us...and probably the best way to do that is to be always attentive to the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ."