With the Jesuit father Flavien Zolabi, let’s meditate on the texts of the 4th Sunday of Easter year C.
Dear brothers and sisters, on this 4th Sunday of Easter of liturgical year C, two strong images of our Lord Jesus Christ emerge from the texts that are offered to us, particularly from the second reading and from the Gospel.
Indeed, the Gospel account presents us with the image of the “Good Shepherd”, which gave rise to the name of this day “Good Shepherd Sunday”. Through this image that he attributes to himself, Jesus defines the type of relationship that binds him to his sheep, who are his disciples. He reveals that he is in a personal relationship with each of them, that he knows each one by name, their deep needs, their strengths and their limits. None of them is an anonymous individuality before him. Furthermore, it signifies that he is not a mercenary shepherd, but rather one who protects his sheep from all danger and hardship, and leads them to true life. And all this at the cost of his own life. And it is of this sacrificial character of the life of Jesus that the second reading from the Apocalypse of Saint John speaks to us, with the image of the Lamb whose blood purifies from sin. While in the first reading, taken from the book of the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Paul and Barnabas teach the Jews that this salvation brought by the death of Jesus is offered to all peoples, and not reserved for a privileged category. That is to say that it is for every human being that Christ gave his life on the cross. It is still necessary for man to accept this grace in faith.
Let’s go back to the Gospel where Jesus also defines two attitudes of the sheep towards the shepherd. He claims that the sheep listen to his voice and follow him. Listening and following are two fundamental attitudes of any disciple. They presuppose a deep relationship with the shepherd, to recognize what he desires and to go with him in the direction he indicates, the one that leads to true happiness.
In our world today many voices are heard, those of opinion leaders as well as those of religious leaders, seeking in many ways to orient the world, not necessarily towards what humanizes man and leads him to God. This is why we need a sense of discernment to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd who speaks to us and wants to lead us to true life, even through the vissicitudes of our life.
Today, dear brothers and sisters, the Church is also celebrating the 59th World Day of Prayer for Vocations. In his message on this occasion, Pope Francis reminds us that vocation does not only concern priests and all consecrated persons. But, each of us, taken by the loving gaze of God, is called to discover his particular vocation, that of participating in the mission of Christ by implementing all his potentialities to “reunite dispersed humanity and reconcile it with God” . May Jesus, the Good Shepherd, support our daily efforts in fulfilling our vocations and may the Virgin Mary, our Mother, accompany us.
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Meditation 4th Sunday of Easter Year C: “Jesus, the Good Shepherd” – Vatican News
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