Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

4/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

our union with Christ equips us to be leaven in the world,

As shepherd, Christ guides and protects his flock. "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice" (John 10:3-4).

Highlights

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/22/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Year of Faith

Keywords: Daily Homily, Year of Faith, The Good Shepherd, Gospel of John, Voice of God, Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds, St. Theresa Sugar Land


CATHOLIC ONLINE (Sugar Land, TX).   Before the Edict of Milan in 313, it was illegal to profess the Christian faith in the Roman Empire.  Many Christians were imprisoned, suffered loss of property and even put to death because they refused to renounce Christ. 

Since Roman law forbade burials inside the city walls, these early martyrs were interred in one of the many underground cemeteries, known today as the catacombs.
 
Many catacombs were adorned with Christian symbols and artwork.  Among these was the image of the Good Shepherd.  Depicted as a young man carrying a sheep across his shoulders, this image of Christ hearkened back to the tenth chapter of the Gospel according to St. John, wherein Jesus calls himself the "Good Shepherd."
 
As shepherd, Christ guides and protects his flock. "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice" (John 10:3-4).
 
Using our imagination, we can enter into this scene and contemplate what it means to be a sheep in Christ's care.  The first thing we notice is that the Good Shepherd knows his sheep by name.  Although they are part of a larger group, the Shepherd deals with each of them individually and personally, calling each sheep by a name that the Lord knows well. 
 
So many people have trouble remembering names!  The fact that Christ calls us by name indicates how thoroughly he knows us and how close he wants to be to each of us.  In God's eyes, we are not anonymous parts of a nameless crowd.  Each of us is important to the Lord, who extends special attention to everyone.
 
We also notice that the Good Shepherd not only gathers his flock into one fold, but that, after having gathered them, he leads them out into the wider world.  Clearly, the Lord does not call us to be isolated from others. 

Nor does he give us the gift of faith as an escape from the world.  Instead, our union with Christ equips us to be leaven in the world, spreading his sweet fragrance to ever corner of our existence.
 
"Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation [and] they have the right and duty. to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 900).
 
Returning to the Gospel image, we see that the Good Shepherd leads his sheep.  Membership in the flock of Christ entails our active following of the one who has called us.  We are not left to wander aimlessly, seeking our own way in the world without any guidance or help.
 
Christ has given us the Church to act in his stead as shepherd and guide. The Church does not replace Christ, but is the instrument that he instituted to transmit the grace of salvation to the world.  "The Church is the Body of Christ. she lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives with her and in her" (Catechism, nos. 805, 807).
 
The sheep of Christ's flock are able to follow him because "they recognize his voice" (verse 4).  There are so many voices that compete for our attention, not the least of which is our own imagination and ego!  We need a spirit of discernment in order to distinguish the voice of Christ from whatever else clamors for our attention.
 
Just as modern communication technology can distort a person's voice, a heart that is not focused on the Lord may lose its capacity to hear Christ.  Repentance of heart and conversion of life clear out the debris that interferes with our interior hearing. 

The sacrament of Penance is a particularly effective means of attuning our hearing to the voice of the Lord.  Let us not be afraid to use it, so that we might follow the Good Shepherd with greater energy and joy.

-----
Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is the Pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas. You are invited to visit them on the Web at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Year of Faith

The Wedding Invitation of Jesus: We are Called to Live the Nuptial Mystery Watch

Image of There will be no giving or taking in marriage in the kingdom to come because the very purpose and meaning of marriage itself will be fulfilled. (See, e.g. Mk. 12:18-27) We will be living in the fullness of the Communion of Love with the Trinity. The symbol will give way to the eternal reality, the Sacrament will be fulfilled in the fullness of communion. All of human love will be completed in the Love which lasts forever.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

It is not accidental that the Bible, from beginning to the end, uses marriage as a metaphor and a symbol to reveal the plan of God for the whole human race.  Marriage was God's plan from the beginning as we see in the first book of Genesis. Throughout the Old ... continue reading


The Sower. The Seed. The Field. Understanding the Christian Mission Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

"A sower went out to sow. And, as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil. It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep, and when the sun rose it was scorched, and it withered for ... continue reading


Reflection on the Catholic Catechism: Understanding the Bible Watch

Image of

By Michael Terheyden

How we interpret the Bible is of immense importance! It directly affects what we believe about Christ, the Church, and our faith, but it is also related to many of the grave problems in our society and the world. Yet, despite the gravity of this situation, we have good ... continue reading


Christ the King, the Year of Faith and the Catholic Counterculture Watch

Image of On this Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Year of Faith inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI comes to a ceremonial end. However, in reality, it cannot and will not end, because Jesus Christ is King! The Year of Faith was only the beginning for those who choose to live the Life of Faith.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It is one of many opportunities the Catholic Church year offers to each one of us to consider the creature called time, receive it as a gift, and begin to really live our lives differently.  This is one of ... continue reading


The Bones of Peter, the Successor of Peter: Close of the Year of Faith Watch

Image of The bones of St. Peter the Apostle

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On the Solemnity of the Feast of Christ the King, the Sunday which marks both the end of the Church Year and the end of the Year of Faith, inaugurated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis greeted thousands of the faithful and presided over Holy Mass and the ... continue reading


Fr Randy Sly on Becoming a House of Prayer Watch

Image of Jesus drives the money changers from the temple. 

With hearts clear and focused on our Lord, we can follow the advice of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Everything starts with prayer. Love to pray--feel the need to pray often during the day and take the trouble to pray. If you want to pray better, you must pray more. The more you pray, the easier it becomes. Perfect prayer does not consist of many words but in the fervor of the desire which raises the heart to Jesus. (Fr. Randy Sly)

By Father Randy Sly

Becoming a House of Prayer is the best discipline we can take on. St. Ephraem of Syria states that Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Offers the Path to Peace Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith Fournier

If this day you only knew what makes for peace- but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your ... continue reading


The Kingdom of God is Among You. What Did Jesus Mean? Watch

Image of The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well. Indeed, we call an apostolate every activity of the Mystical Body that aims to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. (CCC#863)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In Jesus Christ, the Kingdom has been inaugurated. Upon his return it will be made complete and fully manifested in a new heaven and a new earth. We are members of the Body of Christ which makes it present here and now - as seed and sign for a world which is in labor. ... continue reading


Year of Faith: Bringing the Feast of the Presentation of Mary to Life Watch

Image of The Feast of the Presentation of Mary is celebrated in both the Eastern and Western Churches. It recalls the day in the life of the Jewish girl named Mary (Maryam) when her parents, Joachim and Anne, presented her to the Lord in the temple and dedicated her life to Him.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, let us make the choice to surrender ourselves to the same Lord who Joachim and Ann honored when they presented their dear daughter in the temple. Their daughter, Mary, became the Second Eve. The New Creation was born through ... continue reading


WEDNESDAY HOMILY: Our Lady's Encouragement Watch

Image of

By Fr Samuel Medley, SOLT

I got off the subway at Termini station and went up to the busy streets of Rome.  I had to walk past the place where all the prostitutes gathered.  I looked down at the street and began to pray in fear.  Suddenly I heard a feminine voice say, "Be a man!" ... continue reading


All Year of Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 2:12-22
12 do not forget, I say, that you were at that time ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 85:9-10, 11-12, 13-14
9 His saving help is near for those who fear him, his ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 12:35-38
35 'See that you have your belts done up and your ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 21st, 2014 Image

St. Hilarion
October 21: Abbot and disciple of St. Anthony the Great, companion of St. ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter