SUNDAY, FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER / GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
Acts 2:14, 36-41; Ps 23:1-6; 1 Pt 2:20-25; Jn 10:1-10
LISTENING TO THE VOICE OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Today, more than ever, we hear many confusing opinions, statements and speeches concerning matters of faith and morals. Many a time, we don’t need to go outside the church, but we hear them within our walls and confines. We are people more focused on our personal feelings, beliefs, and the Godless impositions of the word, rather than the truth and the authority of the Church’s Magisterium and the Holy Scripture.
Bella Dodd was a passionate woman and a high-ranking member of the American Communist Party. She testifies that, under instructions from Communist Party, she had led a special operation to place 1,200 young men in seminaries, all of whom were agents of the Communist Party. This way the members could be influenced and their faith could be destroyed. Bella herself acknowledged that their most important demonic goal was to destroy the faith of the Catholic people by promoting a pseudo-religion of ‘social justice’ that looked like Catholicism but clearly was not. She was saved through divine intervention and the support of the Ven. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Archbishop Sheen baptized Bella Dodd at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in 1952.
Bella noticed “the little sparks of my conscience caught fire. I began to realize and to feel uneasy at the contradictions between what the Communists preached and what they did.” She tells us, “Communism is a whole philosophy of life that permeates everything that you do…like a part of your bloodstream,” (a belief system that) “determines the kind of marriage you have, your relations with your children, your relationship to your community, your relationship with your profession. It makes decisions for you.” We then abandon God. “There is a vacuum there, and where the vacuum is, the others will step in to take over.” She later lamented, “I have learned from experience that you cannot serve man unless first, you serve God in sincerity and truth, with the faith of little children.”
The liturgy today gives us a clarion call to listen to the voice of Jesus who is our Good Shepherd. In the first reading Peter who was strengthened and reinforced by the power of the Holy Spirit, invites the believers to renew their lives and to listen to the voice of Jesus. Peter was convinced that the gift of salvation was found only in Him alone. All the faithful had to listen to the voice of Jesus to experience the grace of Salvation. The second reading reminds Christians about the privileges which we receive by listening to the voice of Jesus. Firstly, we are called the children of God. Secondly, as God’s children, we must listen to the voice of Jesus. By this, we will see the person of Jesus as He really is when he appears in His great glory.
In the Gospel, John uses the imagery of a Shepherd to explain our relationship with Jesus. As a Shepherd what does Jesus do? First of all, Jesus knows his sheep and the sheep hear his voice. Secondly, Jesus gives the grace of eternal life to his sheep by receiving them into his sheepfold through the sacrament of Baptism. Thirdly, Jesus protects his sheep by placing them in the merciful and loving hands of his heavenly Father. Finally, Jesus the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. As Christians, we are called to listen to the voice of our Shepherd. Jesus affirms that anyone who does not enter into the sheepfold to care for the sheep through this gate – Jesus himself – is a thief and a bandit. The Pharisees and Scribes, since they do not come through Jesus, are thieves. Those who come through this gate that is Jesus will listen to the voice of Jesus and will have the fullness of life.
We are called today to be vigilant and aware of the cunning ways of the evil one. This confusion we see today in the Church or the world is not very surprising. For where there is holiness, evil always will try to infiltrate. When we are confused, we can always rely on Jesus. Let us pray that many young men and women may listen to the voice of Jesus as he calls them, that they may enter the sheepfold through him and be safe and have life and live it to the fullest.
Response: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
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