Thought of the day
Sunday, April 26, 2015

Fourth Sunday of Easter - Year B

"A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep"

Saint Anthony of Padua (c.1195-1231), Franciscan, Doctor of the Church
Sermons for Sundays and Feasts of the Saints

"A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep"

“I am the good shepherd”. Christ has every right to say: “I am”. For him nothing is either past or future; for him everything is in the present. This is what he says of himself in the book of Revelation: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning an the end, the one who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1,8). And in Exodus: “I am who am. This is what you shall tell the Israelites: 'I am sent me to you' (Ex 3,14).

“I am the good shepherd”. The word “shepherd” comes from the word “to pasture”. Christ pastures us each day on his body and blood in the sacrament of the altar. Jesse, David's father, said to Samuel: “My youngest son is pasturing the sheep” (1Sam 16,11). Our very own David, lowly and humble like a good shepherd, pastures his sheep too...

We also read in Isaiah: “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock, in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom and leading the ewes with care” (Is 40,11)... And indeed, when the good shepherd leads his flock out to pasture, or when he brings them back, gathers together all the little lambs that are unable as yet to walk; he takes them in his arms, carries them in his bosom. He carries the mother ewes as well: those about to give birth or have just been delivered. So too does Jesus Christ: he feeds us every day on the Gospel teachings and sacraments of the Church. He gathers us in those arms that he stretched out on the cross “to gather into one the scattered children of God” (Jn 11,52). He has drawn us into the bosom of his mercies as a mother draws her child.

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