08 May 2017: I am the Good Shepherd

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Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Reading 1: Acts. 11: 1-18; Ps. 42: 2-4; Gospel: Jn . 10: 11-18

I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep( Jn 10/11).  

Yesterday we celebrated Good Shepherd Sunday.  The Gospel of today is a continuation of the Gospel passage of yesterday and presents to us the same theme of  Jesus’ relationship with each one of us.  The  Bible uses many symbols to describe the mysterious, ineffable relationship between God and human beings.  One of the most endearing ones is that of the Sheep and the Shepherd.  This symbol is well-known to us in the Old Testament through Psalm Twenty-three, The Psalm of the Good Shepherd.  The psalm is a profession of faith: The Lord is my shepherd.  Today  Jesus assures us he is the Good Shepherd.  In a span of four verses ( vv 11, 14 &15) he repeats this assurance and also reiterates the reason for this claim.  Jesus is the good Shepherd because he lays down his life for his sheep.  In other words, Jesus has given us his all. Greater love has no man than this,  that a man lay down his life for his friends ( Jn 15/13).

May this basic truth of our spiritual life sink deep into our hearts. In our relationship with God, we are fundamentally at the receiving end. The deeper awareness of this profound truth is the primary source of peace, joy and serenity in our life. As. St John reminds us so emphatically. In this is love, not that we loved God first, but that he loved us and sent his own son as expiation for our sins ( I Jn 4/10).  The core of our spiritual lives is not the good resolutions and sacrifices we pride ourselves in making.  On the contrary, we need to realise more and more profoundly that our spiritual life primarily consists in believing and experiencing God’s love for us. The power of this belief and conviction is ineffable. The more we believe and experience God’s love, the more we will experience transformation in our lives. Don’t we all believe that grace is all-powerful, far greater than all our weaknesses?  The source of all graces is the love of Jesus available to us every moment, every day. All we need to do is believe in it and open ourselves to it.

Lord Jesus, we believe that you are the Good Shepherd who has laid down your life for us.

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Fr. Thomas Punnapadam, SDB., teaches moral theology at Kristu Jyoti College, Bangalore. He is also much involved in pastoral ministry.

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