Fourth Sunday of Easter (April 22, 2018)
In today’s Gospel we experience Jesus describing Himself as the Good Shepherd and what this means. St. Francis de Sales reminds us that we are all shepherds who must tend our sheep:
Our Good Shepherd gathers us all around Himself in order to keep us always under His most holy protection. But we too are shepherds and have a flock to attend. Our flock is our desires, feelings and emotions. We must keep watch over this spiritual flock, by learning from Jesus how to govern ourselves.
Since we easily mismanage ourselves, Our Good Shepherd wants us to give up such self-management except to consent and follow His Will. He desires what is best for our wholeness. Following in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd, we learn how to direct, to govern and put our desires, feelings and emotions in order, so that they conform to God’s goodness. What could be more pleasing to this Divine Shepherd than to bring to Him our loves so that He may purify them? Holy love is our first desire. True love is accomplished when we live no more according to our own willful desires, but according to the inspirations and promptings of Our Savior.
Our Shepherd tenderly nourishes us with an incomprehensible love. He died in love, by love, and for love. To bring us life, He suffered death. What remains for us? We ought to consecrate every moment of our life to the divine love of our Savior’s death that opened us up to eternal life. That is, we must bring to fruition all our works, all our actions and all our thoughts so that God’s glory may shine through them. How happy we will be if we remain in the Shepherd’s presence, faithfully bringing His reign in our midst!
(Adapted from St. Francis de Sales, Sermons, L. Fiorelli, Ed.; St. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God).