Good Shepherd

Good Shepherd Sunday (2nd After Easter)

Posted on Updated on

My Dear Parishioners:

Next to the Crucifix, no other image of Our Lord is as dear to us as the image of the Good Shepherd. We are so blessed to have a Good Shepherd window in our Church. This very title of Christ brings comfort to our hearts. But Jesus is no sentimental Shepherd. His ‘shepherding” is serious business, a life-and-death struggle. The sheep that hear and follow His voice will remain in safety. The ones that go astray do so at their own peril. Today Jesus is Our Good Shepherd, the Way we must follow is clearly laid out for us in the Holy Scriptures and in the unchanged teaching of the Church throughout the ages. You and I must develop a spiritual “ear” for the Good Shepherd that allows us to discern between the false voices and empty promises of this world, which offers shallow answers to life’s tough questions. This is why we must all know our faith, what it teaches, and how we can apply it. We have printed the wonderful work, “My Catholic Faith” twice in the bulletin over the past few years, and it’s probably time to repeat it. As we know what the faith teaches, we are more ready to discern between the voices of truth, and the often cunning voice of error. By remaining close to Christ in a life of prayer and charity, we can walk confidently through life, knowing that, as we do, that Christ Himself is leading us, sometimes in green valleys where the waters roll sweet, sometimes through the darkness of sadness and despair, and sometimes through the fire of trials. But what we know with confidence is that as we remain close to Christ, He will bring us at last to our true and lasting Home in Heaven. May God help us all to remain close to Christ and listen to His voice. God bless you all. Your friend and pastor, Fr. Dan Hesko

“Amen, Amen, I say to you…I am the Good Shepherd; and I know Mine, and Mine know Me. As the Father knoweth Me, and I know the Father: and I lay down My life for My sheep…
My sheep hear My voice: and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of My hand.” – John 10:1, 14-15, 27-28

“Christ the Good Shepherd” from a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, Pope (Hom. 14. 3-6: PL 76, 1129- 1130)

“I am the Good Shepherd. I know My own” – by which I mean, I love them – “and My own know me.” (John 10:14) In plain words: “Those who love Me are willing to follow Me, for anyone who does not love the Truth has not yet come to know It.”

My dear brethren, you have heard the test we pastors have to undergo. Turn now to consider how these words of Our Lord imply a test for yourselves also. Ask yourselves whether you belong to His flock, whether you know Him, whether the light of His Truth shines in your minds. I assure you that it is not by faith that you will come to know Him, but by love; not by mere conviction, but by action. John the Evangelist is my authority for this statement. He tells us that anyone who claims to know God without keeping his commandments is a liar. (1 John 2:4)

Consequently, the Lord immediately adds: “As the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for My sheep.” (John 10:15) Clearly He means that laying down His life for His sheep gives evidence of His knowledge of the Father and the Father’s knowledge of Him. In other words, by the love with which He dies for His sheep, He shows how greatly He loves His Father.

Again, He says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them; they follow Me, and I give them eternal life.” (John 10:27-28) Shortly before this He had declared: “If anyone enters the sheepfold through Me, he shall be saved; he shall go freely in and out and shall find good pasture.” (John 10:9) He will enter into a life of faith; from faith he will go out to vision, from belief to contemplation, and will graze in the good pastures of everlasting life.

So our Lord’s sheep will finally reach their grazing ground, where all who follow Him in simplicity of heart will feed on the green pastures of eternity. These pastures are the spiritual joys of Heaven. There the elect look upon the face of God with unclouded vision and feast at the banquet of life for ever more.

Beloved, let us set out for these pastures where we shall keep joyful festival with so many of our fellow citizens. May the thought of their happiness urge us on! Let us stir up our hearts, rekindle our faith, and long eagerly for what Heaven has in store for us. To love thus is to be already on our way.  

No matter what obstacles we encounter, we must not allow them to turn us aside from the joy of that heavenly feast. Anyone who is determined to reach his destination is not deterred by the roughness of the road that leads to it. Nor must we allow the charm of success to seduce us, or we shall be like a foolish traveler who is so distracted by the pleasant meadows through which he is passing that he forgets where he is going. 

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

He leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul:

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. – Psalm 23, KJV

Dominus regit me. Psalmus David

Dominus regit me, et nihil mihi deerit :

in loco pascuae ibi me collocavit.

Super aquam refectionis educavit me, animam meam convertit.

Deduxit me super semitas justitiae, propter Nomen Suum.

Nam, etsi ambulavero in medio umbrae mortis, non timebo mala, quoniam Tu mecum es.

Virga Tua, et baculus Tuus, ipsa me consolata sunt.

Parasti in conspectu meo mensam, adversus eos qui tribulant me;

impinguasti in oleo caput meum; et calix meus inebrians quam praeclarus est!

Et misericordia Tua subsequetur me omnibus diebus vitae meae;

 et ut inhabitem in domo Domini, in longitudinem dierum.

– Psalmus 22, Latin Vulgate

The Lord Ruleth Me. God’s spiritual benefits to faithful souls. A psalm for David.

The Lord ruleth me [1] and I shall want nothing.

He hath set me in a place of pasture.

He hath brought me up, on the water of refreshment:

He hath converted my soul.

He hath led me on the paths of justice, for His own Name’s sake.

For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will fear no evils, for Thou art with me.

 Thy rod and Thy staff, they have comforted me.

Thou hast prepared a table before me against them that afflict me.

Thou hast anointed my head with oil; and my chalice which inebriateth me, how goodly is it!

And Thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord unto length of days.

[1] “Ruleth me”: In Hebrew, Is my shepherd, viz., to feed, guide, and govern me.

– Psalm 22 Douay Rheims Catholic Bible + Challoner notes