Today’s Gospel, John 10:11-18, warms my heart. I am cared for by Jesus, the Good Shepherd.
“Jesus said, I am the Good Shepherd!“
Jesus goes on to say that “a good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” And that is precisely what Jesus has done for you and for me – His sheep. He died on the cross out of love for each one of us. Jesus continues, “…I know mine and mine know me…and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” Jesus knows each one of us inside out. He knows the goodness that lies within us as well as the evil that lurks within – and He loves us and cares for us. He came into the messiness of this world to be our savior. Blessed are we who believe. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
In our reading from 1 Peter 5:5b-14, we hear the admonition:
“Beloved: Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for:
- God opposes the proud
- but bestows favor on the humble.
So humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. Cast all your worries upon Him because He cares for you.”
What does it mean to be humble? It means to have self knowledge; to know oneself; to realize that all the good that is within us is a gift from God and that we are His beloved children and that without Him we can do nothing good. Without Him we live in the quicksand of our sinfulness. Who; therefore, are we to judge another? Only God is judge. We; therefore, focus in putting our house in order and not the house of our neighbor. We approach our neighbor with compassion and mercy as we have received compassion and mercy from God.
In today’s Gospel, John 6:52-59, Jesus tells us about the source of life and He is very explicit:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you do not have life within you……the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.”
Jesus could not be more direct. He invites us to eat His Body and drink His Blood – to receive Him in Holy Communion. This is the source of life and blessed are we who believe His words, take them literally and go to Holy Communion as often as possible. In eating of His Body and drinking of His Blood, we receive the graces we need to lead a good Christian life and to be witnesses to Him.
One hundred years ago, the government of the dying Ottoman Empire inaugurated the first genocide of the Twentieth Century. A Genocide is a systemic effort to destroy or annihilate a given racial or ethnic group. Up to one and a half million Armenian men, women and children perished in the massacres and forced marches. The Armenians are a Christian people. Modern Turkey has consistently refused to recognize this event as a genocide. Pope Francis recently reminded the world of this diabolical tragedy and pleaded with the world to take steps to avoid such future human catastrophes.
As we remember this 100th anniversary, may we pray for all racial, ethnic, religious and other groups in today’s world who experience persecution.
We all dream. Some of our dreams can be scarry. I woke up this morning remembering a lot of one of my dreams. I was surrounded by people that I kew and that I was trying to help. And yet I was being ignored by them. I tried to speak to them. I tried to get their attention. I was craving to be recognized by them – and yet nothing. It was as if I did not exist. I felt terribly alone – all alone. It’s a terrible feeling.
It’s ok to have that experience. It’s just being human. What is important to know at the very core of my being is that I am never truly alone. Jesus is with me – no matter what!