OMELIE / Omelie EN

12 mag 2019
12/05/2019 – 4th Sunday of Easter - C

12/05/2019 – 4th Sunday of Easter - C

Of the Good Shepherd

Reading 1, ACTS 13,14.43-52 * Psalm 99 * Reading 2, REV 7,9.14-17 * Gospel, JN 10,27-30

The reading from the Acts makes us follow the first missionaries, Barnabas and Paul, sent by the community in Antioch. Where they arrive, they address first of all the Jews. They are obedient to the Lord, who had recommended starting from the people of Israel, the one carrying the promises. This people is the core, the center, around which also others can gather in order to share the faith in the Messiah, in Jesus, and therefore the joy of the new life. The announcement of the death and resurrection of the Lord is not welcomed easily by all the members of this people: they begin to be divided among themselves. This division appears clear right away in Antioch in Pisidia and then in Iconium (nowadays a big city in Turkey), in which the two missionary apostles arrive. When they get rejected and they are thrown out, they obey another one of the Lord’s teachings: “They shook the dust from their feet…”. And there they are, addressing the pagans, ready to saw the Word in that huge field, which till today has not been fully covered, and awaits with a true desire to be able to know the living God’s love.

It is really a “great multitude, from every nation, race, people, and tongue” that is in front of the apostle John, ecstatic in the Lord ’s Day. This multitude is at God’s disposal, ready to praise “the Lamb”, after it has “survived the time of great distress”! Their tears have been wiped away from their eyes by God Himself, so great and stable is their joy. This multitude is like a big flock He cares for like a shepherd, “the Lamb who is in the center of the throne”. The words shepherd and lamb are preparing us to listen to the Gospel. Jesus Himself uses these images, very well known in His country, in order to tell us about His love and to ask for ours.

After calling Himself the “good shepherd”, or «true» shepherd, Jesus talks about what His sheep do. “The” good shepherd is God Himself, who loves us guiding us to the waters of life. “My sheep hear my voice”: from this detail He can recognize the ones which are His own. His sheep are not only the Hebrews because they are Hebrews, but everyone and only those who listen to Him, who obey Him, who keep His Word. “I give them eternal life”: the reward for obedience is fullness of life, true fulfillment of yourself, joy and internal peace. Whoever has eternal life is satisfied, full, does not look for anything else, does not need anything else. Whoever has eternal life enjoys good relationships with everybody, because he wants their salvation, he wants everyone, even possible enemies, to meet their own shepherd Himself.

How can you explain this? You cannot, you can only try. Why does whoever follows Jesus as his own shepherd change his life? Why does he change his face? Why is he happy and he stands peacefully mockery and contempt, even also dirty tricks, injustices and persecutions, without complaining and without answering back with hate and vengeance? It is a mystery: Jesus is truly life, He has the life and gives it to whoever listens to Him and loves Him.

Whoever follow Jesus enjoy the fact that they have reached fullness of life, they are not afraid anymore because “they shall never perish”. Those who follow Jesus know they are in the Father’s hands, so they live in His love. The Father’s love is love that never gets offended and instead wants joy and recovery for all its children, for all the “sheep” of His Son.

Paul and Barnabas preach first to the Jews and then to the pagans with great zeal and they do not complain against those who reject them or mistreat them. They know that Jesus has been through everybody’s rejection: relatives, people from Nazareth, Samaritans, chiefs of the people and chief priests, soldiers and pagan chiefs. They are apostles of someone who has been crucified, they announce His death, and therefore not only they are not avoiding getting close to His very destiny, but they are proud of it. Like these two great missionaries, so the crowds of Christians “wearing white robes” have witnessed before the world the richness of the life they received from loving the Lord, Son of God. Today, thanks to their example, we feel too attraction and desire to get closer to Him, in order to hear His voice more clearly, to distinguish His words and treasure them in the heart, in order to be able to accept to be His and to decide to be His and to follow Him. From their example we receive joy to carry without complaining our cross, and the desire to introduce many to the source of our life and get them close in order for them to enjoy it too, plenty. Close to Jesus we become a single flock, we feel like a single family, we enjoy communion with true brothers, able to love and to serve each other.

By looking at and loving the Shepherd today we desire and pray in order for the sign of the Shepherd to be kept alive in the Church, that is to say for someone to be always there in His behalf to give us the food, to defend us against the dangers, to keep us united, to bring us to our final destination without losing our way.