Our Good Shepard

04-25-2021From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

I’m pregnant! What a joyous announcement. It is at that moment that the words God spoke to Moses when Moses asked God His name are applied to the child in the womb, “I AM!” God replied to Moses: “I am who I am.” Then he added: “This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” (Exodus 3:14) How blessed we are to have the gift of life. How blessed we are to have been given life by our parents. How blessed are you who are parents, using your God -given life giving power to create children who will live forever.

In the second reading at Mass today (1 John 3:1-2) we have these beautiful words: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, what we shall be has not been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is.” One of the greatest parental moments of childbirth is seeing and holding the newborn child in your arms. As parents delight in the gift of their children, so God delights in us as His children. In the Gospel for today’s Mass (John 10:11-18) Jesus tells us, “I am the God Shepherd.” The first and most life-giving virtue of the Good Shepherd is that He loves us. As Jesus says, “I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down My life for My sheep.” Every time we make the sign of the cross we recall that greatest of act of love.

As parents in countless ways you lay down your lives for your children. Sacrifice becomes a natural way, day in day out, as you nourish your children with your love. Like the love of Jesus the Good Shepherd your love fulfills needs, heals, renews, forgives, encourages, guides, and cherishes. You are the light of life for your children. You are a beautiful, loving, living example what Jesus is as our Good Shepherd.

As we allow Jesus the Good Shepherd into our lives and allow Him to nourish us with His presence we become fully alive. Living in a physical and material world, it is the power of Jesus the Good Shepherd in us and our presence in Him that enables us to rise to the light that enables us to see it is not financial security and having all we need materially that makes life full. It is the Good Shepherd who first of all fills us with gratitude for the gift of life itself and opens the doors of our hearts in love and concern for others. In giving ourselves to one another as the Good Shepherd does for us, we like, Him rise above fear, self concern, confusion, and untruths to become all we have been created to be. Our life-giving power continues far beyond creating children in the womb. Every day is another day to say to God, thank you because “I am!” Every day is another day to be the “I am” who brings hope, peace, joy, compassion, and love to all God’s entrusts my presence.

I offer Psalm 23 for your prayerful reflection.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall
follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord's own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.