|Posted on May 8, 2017 at 8:50 PM|
Good Shepherd Sunday (Year A)
Gospel: John 10:1-10
Our Lady’s Message: Do Not Let Yourselves Be Led Astray (125)
Dear brothers and sisters,
We now celebrate the Feast of the Good Shepherd, another dimension of the Resurrection that comes fittingly after the Emmaus story. Jesus is no longer a “stranger.” Known through the breaking of the bread, he is the Good Shepherd who was sent by the Father “so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).
In her message, Our Lady urges us to listen and follow Jesus, the Good Shepherd, for he alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We will reflect on Message 125: “Do Not Let Yourselves Be Led Astray” from the book “To the Priests Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (John 10: 1-10)
Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Points for Reflection
1. The Good Shepherd
Jesus identifies himself as the “good” shepherd to contrast himself with the Pharisees, who were supposedly the spiritual leaders of Israel, but turned out to be hardened, blind guides. Jesus calls them thieves and robbers, who do not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climb over elsewhere, and whose aim is only to steal and slaughter and destroy. People run away from them, because they are strangers; they do not recognize their voice. Unfortunately, they did not realize this. That’s how hardened the Pharisees are!
2. The Gate
The “gate” provides authorized entry. This is true with Jesus. “The gatekeeper opens it up for him” (Jn. 10:3) because he has the mandate from the Father to shepherd His People. Given full access inside the sheepfold, he lives in the midst of the sheep, “smelling like them.” They hear his voice. Seeing the Father-Shepherd in him, they follow him and gain access to the Father through him. Thus, Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
The gate stands for Jesus, too. As in the ancient practice, he sleeps at the gate to guard and protect the sheep, making himself the real gate for them. He says of himself: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved” (Jn. 10:9). Indeed, he is our salvation, more than protection. Peter tells us in the Second Reading that he “bore our sins in his body upon the cross; by his wounds, we were healed” (1 Pt. 2:24). This is his greatest proof of being a shepherd. Laying down his life, he brought us salvation and life in abundance, John tells us in the Gospel (Jn. 10:10).
3. Heeding the Shepherd’s Call
We have the Good Shepherd in our midst. We hear his voice through the people he sent to speak in his name. Peter is a perfect example. We hear in the First Reading how people took his words as God’s call (Acts 2:14, 36-41). “Cut to the heart,” they seek forgiveness for causing Jesus’ death. Peter spoke through the gate of Jesus, and it worked.
We continue to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd through our bishops, the successors of the apostles. We often hear them speak, especially in these times of many disturbing issues and fake news. But, foremost, we hear the Shepherd’s voice from parents. Parents, by the grace of their state of life, are ordained to be the first image of the Good Shepherd. Their voice is the first thing we hear. Do we listen to them? Most probably not! We still follow our own, easily being carried away by public opinion, a stranger’s voice. Thus, we, too, are easily lost.
The call for us is interior conversion: “a conversion that frees us of every attachment to ourselves and to easy compromises with the world so that we may be able only to do always the Will of the Father.” Interior conversion makes us attuned to the Voice within us, impelling us to listen to those He sent to be our guides. Easter is a time to attend once again to what we have already become, and to renew our focus on what we are intended to be. This is a time for listening to His Voice and of following His Will.
II. OUR LADY’S MESSAGE: "Do Not Let Yourselves Be Led Astray” (Message 125)
April 23, 1977
a. Do not let yourselves be led astray by the world in which you live.
b. It misleads you by word.
c. Never before as today has the word become an instrument of truly diabolical seduction. Speech is used to ensnare. Speech is used to spread error. Speech is used to hide the truth.
d. Thus things which are real transgressions of the natural law and the Law of God are proposed as values and conquests of the human mind.
e. Errors are propagated as new ways of understanding the truth.
f. Even in the explanation of the word of God, the most serious errors are propagated. The Pope speaks and is no longer listened to. People continue along the same road and plunge deeper and deeper into the darkness which error spreads everywhere.
g. Today my Adversary is seducing you especially through the mind.
h. Answer with your humility, your docility and your obedience. Look only to my Son Jesus, who is the Truth.
i. It misleads you with images.
j. Never have immorality and obscenity been so widespread and so extolled as in your days.
k. In the name of this false way of understanding the value of freedom, every moral aberration is justified.
l. Indeed they begin with the little ones, betraying the innocence of so many souls. And thus many end by being infected almost without noticing it.
m. As for you, answer by looking to me alone. Thus you will see the evil which surrounds you without gazing upon it. And you will go forward keeping your eyes on my Son Jesus who alone is your way.
n. It misleads you by works.
o. The works of the world have never been so evil as in these times. It has rejected God and walks in the darkness of this refusal. There is no longer the capacity to love, no longer the capacity to walk in the light.
p. Where are those who still manage to live as true children of God?
q. How it seduces you, above all today, this world in which you live!
r. Because of this, I ask you to follow only my Son Jesus, who is your life. He ascended into heaven to help you to live here below while nevertheless keeping your eyes on paradise. He ascended into heaven to help you to be in the world, while not being of the world.
s. You will not let yourselves be misled by this world if, led by me by the hand, you follow at every moment Jesus, your Truth, your Way and your Life."
Points for Reflection
1. The Deception of our Time
Our Lady uncovers for us the deception of our time, which brings not only confusion but also the danger of being lost. She cites three situations: by word, by images and by works.
• First, by word.
Using human reasoning, words are used to ensnare and hide the truth. Thus, transgressions of the natural law and the Law of God are extolled as values and conquests of the human mind. Our Lady urges us to be humble, docile and obedient, looking only to Jesus who is the Truth (125 b-h).
• Second, with images.
Pictures means a thousand words. Regrettably in our times, immorality and obscenity are so widespread and extolled. In many forms of media, moral aberration is being justified in the name of this false way of understanding the value of freedom. Without noticing it, many innocent lives are being infected. For this, she tells us to look to her alone, so that we may not gaze upon evil even it surrounds us. Instead, she will keep our eyes on Jesus who alone is our way (125 i-m).
• Third, by Works.
The secular and materialistic world has changed our lifestyle. People are occupied with a lot of things, except God. This lifestyle has affected our capacity to love, to sacrifice and to walk righteously. For this, Our Lady tells us to follow only her Son Jesus, who is our life. While still here below, let us keep our eyes up, aiming at paradise (125 n-r).
2. The Sure Means to Take
In this difficult situation, Our Lady reminds us of our consecration to her Immaculate Heart as the sure means to take. She said in a separate message: “These are the times of the reign of my adversary. The danger of being lost is much greater for all. And so, I urge you to trust and take refuge in me through your act of consecration to my Immaculate Heart” (373 b-c). This means we have to live our consecration daily. We will not be misled if we pray daily our consecration and live it consistently.
Happy Good Shepherd Sunday!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Bp Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998
Abp Francesco Cuccarese, 2007