Father Cantalamessa on the Flock of Christ
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on This Sunday's Gospel
ROME, MAY 6, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of a commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa on this Sunday's liturgical readings. He is the preacher to the Pontifical Household.
* * *
I Am the Good Shepherd
The Fourth Sunday of Eastertide is called "Good Shepherd Sunday." To understand the importance that the theme of the shepherd has in the Bible, one must go back to history.
The Bedouins of the desert give us today an idea of what was, at one time, the life of the tribes of Israel. In that society the relationship between the shepherd and the flock is not only of an economic type, based on interest. An almost personal relationship was developed between the shepherd and the flock. Days and days were spent together in solitary places, without any one around. The shepherd ended up by knowing everything about each sheep; the sheep recognized the voice of the shepherd, who talked frequently to the sheep, and distinguishes his voice among all others.
This explains why God made use of this symbol to express his relationship with humanity. One of the Psalter's most beautiful psalms describes the security of the believer in having God as shepherd: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."
Subsequently the title shepherd is given, by extension, also to those who act for God on earth: kings, priests, leaders in general. But in this case the symbol is divided: It no longer evokes images of protection and security, but also of exploitation and oppression.
Along with the image of the good shepherd appears that of the evil shepherd, of the mercenary. In the prophet Ezekiel we come across a terrible accusation against evil shepherds who only feed themselves, followed by God's promise to look after his flock himself (Ezekiel 34:1ff).
In the Gospel Jesus takes up the idea of the good and evil shepherd, but with a novelty. "I am the good shepherd!" he says. God's promise has become a reality, exceeding all expectations. Christ does what no shepherd does, no matter how good he is: He is prepared to "Give my life for the sheep."
The man of today rejects with contempt the role of the sheep and the idea of a flock, but he does not realize that he is completely inside it. One of the most obvious phenomena of our society is its "massification." We let ourselves be led in a supine manner by all kinds of manipulation and concealed persuasion.
Others create models of well-being and behavior, ideals and objectives of progress, and we follow them; we go behind them, afraid to be out of step, conditioned and kidnapped by advertising. We eat what they tell us, we dress as they show us, we speak as we hear them speak, in slogans. The criteria by which the majority let themselves be led in their choices is "Cosě fan tutti" (Everybody does it), of Mozartian memory.
Look how the life of the masses develops in a large modern city: It is the sad image of a flock that goes out together, is agitated, and crowds the cars of trains and subways and then, in the evening, returns to the sheepfold empty of self and of freedom. We smile in amusement when we see a people filmed in fast-forward, moving by leaps and bounds, speedily, as puppets, but it is the image we would have of ourselves if we looked with less superficial eyes.
The Good Shepherd, who is Christ, proposes that, with him, we experience liberation. To belong to his flock is not to fall into "massification," but to be preserved from it. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Corinthians 3:17), says St. Paul.
Here the person emerges, with his unique richness and true destiny. The son of God emerges, still hidden, of which the second letter of this Sunday speaks: "Beloved, now we are children of God, though we do not yet know what we shall be."
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Christ, Gospel, Liturgy, Jesus
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Readings for Thursday, March 30, 2017
- Christian student suspended for arguing with Muslim teacher - ...
- Another Mexican priest is killed, making him the 32 known clergyman ...
- St. Peter Regulatus: Saint of the Day for Thursday, March 30, 2017
- Daily Reading for Friday, March 31st, 2017 HD Video
- Implant allows paralyzed man to move arm using his thoughts HD Video
- 'Living Lent': Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent - Day 30
- Daily Reading for Thursday, March 30th, 2017 HD
- Cause of California's drought is revealed HD
- Pope Francis' important message for children HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, March 29th, 2017 HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.