Good Shepherd Sunday
I know Mine, and Mine know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father (Jn. 10.11,16, from today’s Gospel). Although there is no question here of equality, but merely that of simple comparison, it is nevertheless very consoling and glorious for us to see how Jesus likes to compare His relations with us to those He has with His Father. At the Last Supper also, He said: As the Father hath loved Me, I also have loved you, and again: as Thou, Father, in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us (Jn. 15.9-17,21). This shows that between us, the sheep, and the Savior, our Good Shepherd, there is not only a relation of acquaintance, but also one of love, and better still, of a communion of life, similar to that which exists between the Son and the Father. It is by means of the grace, faith, and charity which the Good Shepherd acquired for us by His death, that we arrive at such intimacy with our God – so deep that it makes us share in His own divine life.
A close relationship of loving knowledge (with the Truth, that is, our Faith for its foundation: I will espouse thee to me in faith and thou shalt know that I am the Lord, Osee 2.20) is here established between the Good Shepherd and His sheep – one so intimate that the Shepherd knows His sheep one by one and can call them by name; and they recognize His voice and follow Him with docility. Each soul can say: “Jesus knows me and loves me, not in a general abstract way, but in the concrete aspect of my needs, of my desires, and of my life; for Him to know me and to love me is to do me good, to encompass me more and more with His grace, and to sanctify me. Precisely because He loves me, Jesus calls me by name: He calls me when in prayer He opens to me new [yet orthodox, of course] horizons of the spiritual life, or when He enables to know my sins, faults and weaknesses better; He calls me when He reprimands me or purifies me by aridity, as well as when He consoles and encourages me by filling me with new fervor; He calls when He makes me realize the need of greater generosity, and when He asks me for sacrifices or gives me joys, and still more, when He awakens in me a deeper love of Him especially by counting on me to share with Him, my Beloved, the “burden of God”.