2nd Sunday After Easter
White – Semi-double
This Sunday is often called Good Shepherd Sunday: the Gospel tells us of the Good Shepherd. Jesus is indeed the Good Shepherd of our souls. He came to give His life for us.
INTROIT Ps. 32. 5, 6 – The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord, alleluia: by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, alleluia, alleluia. — (Ps. 32. 1). Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: praise is comely for the upright. V.: Glory to the Father . . . — The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord . . .
EPISTLE ¤ I. Peter 2. 21-25 – [St. Peter, Head and Pastor of the Church of Christ, tells us in his Epistle that Jesus is the Shepherd of our souls, which were as sheep going astray.]
Dearly beloved, Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow His steps who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Who when He was reviled, did not revile: when He suffered, He threatened not, but delivered Himself to him that judged Him unjustly: who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray: but you are now converted to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
GOSPEL John 10:11-16. – At that time, Jesus said to the Pharisees: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
"I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, oneshepherd."
Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. Divine Intimacy
The Good Shepherd
Second Sunday after Easter
Presence of God
I come to You, O Jesus, my Good Shepherd; lead me to the pastures of eternal life.
1. The liturgy today sums up in the gentle figure of the Good Shepherd all that Jesus has done for our souls.
The shepherd is everything to his flock; their life, their sustenance, and their care is entirely in his hands, and if the shepherd is good, they will have nothing to fear under his protection, and they will want for nothing.
Jesus is preeminently the Good Shepherd: He not only loves, feeds and guards His sheep, but He also gives them life at the cost of His own. In the mystery of the Incarnation, the Son of God comes to earth in search of men who, like stray sheep, have wandered away from the sheepfold and have become lost in the dark valley of sin. He comes as a most loving Shepherd who, in order to take better care of His flock, is not afraid to share their lot. Today’s Epistle (1 Peter 2:21-25) shos Him to us as He takes our sins upon Himself that He may heal us by His Passion: "Who His own self bore our sins in His Body upon the tree that we, being dead to sin, should live to justice; by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." (1 Peter 2:24-25) Jesus said, "I am the Good Shepherd, and I give my life for my sheep" and in the Office for Paschal time, the Church chants many times: "The Good Shepherd is risen, He who gave His life for His sheep and who died for His flock." What could be a better synthesis of the whole work of the Redemption? It seems still more wonderful when we hear Jesus declare: "I am come that they may have life and may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) In truth, He could well repeat to each one of us: "What more could I have done for you that I have not done?" (cf. Isaiah 5:4) Oh, would that our generosity in giving ourselves to Him had no limits, after the pattern of HIs own liberality in giving Himself to us!
2. Again Jesus said: "I know Mine, and Mine know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father" (Gospel: John10:11,16) Although there is no question here of equality, but merely that of a simple comparison, it is nevertheless very consoling and glorious for us to see how Jesus likes to compare His relations with us to those He has with His Father. At the Last Supper also, He said: "As the Father hath loved Me, I also have love you," and again: "as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us" (John15:9; 17:21) This shows that between us, the sheep, and Jesus, our Shepherd, there is not only a relation of acquaintance, but also one of love, and better still, of a communion of life, similar to that which exists between the Son and the Father. It is by means of the grace, faith and charity, which the Good Shepherd acquired for us by His death, that we arrive at such intimacy with our God – so deep that it makes us share in His own divine life.
A close relationship of loving knowledge is here established between the Good Shepherd and His sheep — one so intimate that the Shepherd knows His sheep one by one and can call them by name; and they recognize His voice and follow Him with docility. Each sould can say: "Jesus knows me and loves me, not in a general abstract way, but in the concrete aspects of my needs, of my desires, and of my life; for Him to know me and to love is to do me good, to encompass me more and more with His grace, and to sanctify me. Precisely because He loves me, Jesus calls me by name: He calls me when in prayer He opens to me new horizons of the spiritual life, or when he enables me to know my faults and weaknesses better; He calls me when He reprimands me or purifies me by aridity, as well as when He consoles and encourages me by filling me with new fervour; He calls me when He makes me feel the need of greater generosity, and when He asks me for sacrifices or gives me joys, and still more, when He awakens in me a deeper love for Him. Hearing His call, my attitude should be that of a loving little sheep who recognizes the voice of its Shepherd and follows Him always.
"O Lord, You are my Shepherd, I shall not want; You make me lie down in green pastures, You lead me to the water of refreshment, You convert my soul and lead me on the paths of justice. Even though I walk in the ravines, in the dark valleys, I shall fear no evil, for You are with me. Your rod and Your staff are my comfort. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup runs over." (cf. Psalm 22 O Lord, my Good Shepherd, what more could You have done for me that You have not done? What could You have given to me that You have not given? You willed to be my food and drink. What more delightful and salutary, nourishing and strengthening pasture could You have found than Your own Body and Blood?
O good Lord Jesus Christ, my sweet Shepherd, what return shall I make to You for all that You have given me? What shall I give You in exchange for Your gift of Yourself to me? Even if I could give myself to You a thousand times, it would still be nothing, since I am nothing in comparison in comparison with You. You, so great, have loved me so much and so gratuitously, I who am so small, so wicked and ungrateful! I know, O Lord, that Your love tends toward the immense, the infinite, because You are immense and infinite. Please tell me, O Lord, how I ought to love You.
"My love, O Lord, is not gratuitous, it is owed to You…. Although I cannot love You as much as I should, You accept my weak love. I can love You more when You condescend to increase my virtue, but I can never give You what You deserve. Give me then, Your most ardent love by which, with Your grace, I shall love You, please You, serve You, and fulfil Your commands. May I never be separated from You, either in time or in eternity, but abide united to You in love, forever and ever." (Ven. R. Jourdain)
Good Shepherd, who lays down His Life for His sheep, nourish Your people with the Bread of Life, that we may reflect Your likeness and enjoy the spring of Living Water that never ends. Amen.