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Vatican Congregation for the Clergy on Christ the Good Shepherd

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As we look at Christ the Good Shepherd we are called to pray especially for those who Jesus has placed as shepherds in His Church

The knowledge that Christ gives us is an intimate communion with His own life.  It is a communion which transforms us and lifts us up to the reality of being the children of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit who we receive at Baptism.  We are truly "called God's children and that is what we are". 

Highlights

P>VATICAN CITY (Catholic Online) - Today we celebrate the fourth Sunday of Easter, commonly called Good Shepherd Sunday.  The Risen Lord is presented in the liturgy as the Shepherd of our souls, who "lays down his life for his sheep" (John 10:11). 

As we look at Christ the Good Shepherd we are called to pray especially for those who Jesus has placed as shepherds in His Church and also for young people who are called to this mission.

The verb 'to know' appears repeatedly in today's readings.  When the Holy Scriptures talk about knowledge - especially knowledge between people - it means something much deeper than our how we use the verb in everyday language.

This biblical 'knowledge' isn't limited to the external or superficial information that we can know about another person.  Instead, it refers to an intimate communion and mutual possession that engages the whole of our intelligence, freedom and will.

In the Gospel reading the Lord says "I know my sheep and my sheep know me" (John 10:14), and in the second reading St John says "the world refused to acknowledge him,therefore it does not acknowledge us" (1 John 3:1).

These verses written by St John speak of two different types of knowledge.  There is the knowledge that is given to us and there is a knowledge that is not possible, and therefore fruitless, to search for or to pursue directly.

Let's firstly consider that knowledge of Christ that was given to us by grace as Christians.  That knowledge of Christ which is an intimate communion and reciprocal possession of Him is a gift that was granted to us and that inspired St John the Apostle to exclaim: "think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are" (1 John 3:1). 

Knowing Christ cannot be reduced to a simple acquaintance with what the four Gospels narrate about Him, or even with the truth that the Church teaches.  Although these things are necessary and also urgent especially in our epoch that is so marked by religious illiteracy. (c.f Pope Benedict XVI Homily Chrism Mass 2012)

The knowledge that Christ gives us is an intimate communion with His own life.  It is a communion which transforms us and lifts us up to the reality of being the children of God, through the work of the Holy Spirit who we receive at Baptism.  We are truly "called God's children and that is what we are". 

This knowledge, moreover, engages the whole of our person - but it doesn't depend on us.  In fact, it comes as a gift which is rooted in the sovereign initiative of God that takes flesh in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the true Good Shepherd who gives His life for us, His sheep (cf. John 10:17-18).

Christ laid down his life for us, and he took it up again.  What does this mean that He 'takes up' his life again?  There is the obvious meaning: Jesus offered Himself up voluntarily to death on the cross for us, and then He rose from death to live forever.  But we can also see a further meaning. 

By rising, Christ take up the life He gave for us on the cross, bringing us to heaven with Him, and inviting us into His relationship of love with the Father.  We become sons just as Christ is the Son, and participants in the same love that Christ has for the Father and for humanity.

This has a special significance for those called to the priesthood.  Those who receive the gift of a Vocation are taken up into the life of Christ and made a partaker in His own saving work.  The priest becomes a sharer in Christ's love and mercy who is able to make present in his own person Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

As to that other knowledge, that of the world, St John tells us that it isn't for us because the world "does not acknowledge us".  Those who have met Christ and possess knowledge of Him should know that this treasure is fundamentally incompatible with the acknowledgement of the world. 

The Lord himself taught us that we cannot serve two masters (cf. Luke 16:13).  The only way to ensure that the world can acknowledge us is for us to attract it once more to the knowledge of Christ so opening itself to God.

Let us ask the Blessed Virgin Mary, Gate of Heaven and Queen of Apostles, that, like her, we will fully open ourselves to the true knowledge of Christ - the Shepherd who leads us to the pastures of heaven.  Amen.

Citazioni di
Ac 4,8-12: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9ammlod.htm    
1Io 3,1-2: www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9abrwoc.htm  
Io 10,11-18:    www.clerus.org/bibliaclerusonline/en/9arb00j.htm   

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