St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 12 May 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
In today's Gospel (see Jn 10.27-30) Jesus presents himself as the true Shepherd of God's people. He speaks of the relationship that binds him to the sheep of the flock, that is, of his disciples, and insists that it is a relationship of mutual knowledge. «My sheep - he says - listen to my voice and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will not be lost "(vv. 27-28). Reading this sentence carefully, we see that Jesus' work is expressed in some actions: Jesus speaks, Jesus knows, Jesus gives eternal life, Jesus guards.
The Good Shepherd - Jesus - is attentive to each one of us, seeks and loves us, addressing us to his word, knowing our hearts, our desires and our hopes, as well as our failures and disappointments. It welcomes us and loves us as we are, with our strengths and our faults. For each of us he "gives eternal life": that is, he offers us the possibility of living a full life, without end. Moreover, it keeps us and guides us with love, helping us to cross the inaccessible paths and the sometimes risky roads that appear on the path of life.
To the verbs and gestures that describe the way in which Jesus, the Good Shepherd, relates to us, the verbs concerning the sheep, that is us: "listen to my voice", "follow me". These are actions that show how we must correspond to the tender and caring attitudes of the Lord. In fact, listening to and recognizing his voice implies intimacy with him, which is consolidated in prayer, in the meeting heart to heart with the divine Master and Pastor of our souls. This intimacy with Jesus, this being open, talking with Jesus, strengthens in us the desire to follow him, coming out of the labyrinth of wrong paths, abandoning selfish behaviors, to set out on the new paths of fraternity and the gift of ourselves, in imitation of He.
Let us not forget that Jesus is the only Pastor who speaks to us, knows us, gives us eternal life and keeps us. We are the only flock and we must only strive to listen to his voice, while with love he scrutinizes the sincerity of our hearts. And from this continuous intimacy with our Pastor, from this conversation with him, comes the joy of following him, leaving us to lead to the fullness of eternal life.
We now turn to Mary, Mother of Christ the Good Shepherd. She, who promptly responded to God's call, helps in particular those who are called to the priesthood and the consecrated life to welcome Christ's invitation to be his most direct collaborators in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the service of the Kingdom with joy and availability of God in our time.
After the Regina Coeli
Dear brothers and sisters!
In many countries, "Mother's Day" is celebrated today. I would like to send a warm greeting to all the mothers, thanking them - all applause for the mothers! - for their precious work in raising children and protecting the value of the family. We also remember the mothers who look at us from the sky and continue to watch over us with prayer. Our thoughts also go to our celestial Mama, whom we will celebrate tomorrow May 13th, with the name of Our Lady of Fatima. We entrust ourselves to her to continue our journey with joy and generosity.
Today, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Sunday of the "Good Shepherd", is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which this year has as its theme: "The courage to risk for the promise of God". The courage to risk for God's promise: following Jesus is always a risk, but it takes courage. In all communities we pray in a special way for vocations to the priesthood and to the consecrated life. This morning, in St. Peter's Basilica, I had the joy of ordaining nineteen new priests. As I affectionately greet these new presbyters together with their family and friends, I invite you to remember how many the Lord continues to call by name, as he did one day with the Apostles on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, so that they may become "fishers of men" . Of these nineteen new priests, two have invited them to greet you and bless you with me.
I greet all of you, families, church groups and individual faithful from Italy and from different countries. In particular, I greet the pilgrims from Texas and those from Valencia; the faithful of Gela and Pistoia; the boys of the Confirmation of Parma, the scouts of Cossato and those of Frosinone. And now I will ask these new priests to bless you all with me.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
FULL TEXT Share from Vatican.va - Unofficial Translation