The Good Shepherd is the one who guides with serenity by giving himself with charity in the liquid world

- homiletics -

Homiletics of the Fathers of The Island of Patmos

THE GOOD SHEPHERD IS THE ONE WHO LEADS WITH SERENITY BY GIVING HERSELF WITH CHARITY IN THE LIQUID WORLD

Jesus describes the figure of the mercenary as opposed to his own. The mercenary expresses the mentality of the liquid world. In fact it does not give life, flees from the dangers of those entrusted to him. The mercenary uses the sheep as objects, as long as it suits them and for personal gain. He does not know how to guard, but it only uses a domain perspective

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Author:
Gabriele Giordano M. Scardocci, o.p.

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Roman aqueduct on the Appia Antica

Dear Readers L'Isola di Patmos,

when I was a high school student I used to go for a run in the park near my house every now and then, a huge countryside inside the Appia Antica Park. One day I remember that a large flock of sheep appeared in this large green area. Behind a young shepherd who directed them by whistling in their direction. And the silent sheep, also accompanied by the shepherd dog, they obeyed.

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This tale of the Gospel of Saint John offered by the liturgy of this fourth Sunday of Easter [cf.. 10, 11-18], providentially reminds us that in these times of great uncertainty, today the Lord comes to meet us and reminds us that He is the Good Shepherd of our life. It is precisely in this great mystery that today's readings introduce us. Especially in the Gospel of John, Jesus presents himself as such by affirming:

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"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The mercenary […] sees the wolf coming, abandon the sheep and flee, and the wolf kidnaps and scatters them; because he is a mercenary and does not care about the sheep ".

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We immediately notice that Jesus describes the figure of the mercenary as opposed to his own. The mercenary clearly expresses the mentality of the liquid world. In fact it does not give life, flees from the dangers of those entrusted to him. The mercenary uses the sheep as objects, as long as it suits them and for personal gain. He does not know how to guard, but it only uses a domain perspective. It therefore has a merely utilitarian mentality.

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On the contrary, the good Shepherd is quite the opposite. He knows and loves his sheep. Interesting how there is this link between knowing and loving, which finds its foundation in the relationship of knowledge and love that exists between the Eternal Father and Christ Logos. Indeed, in the Hebrew and Aramaic languages ​​spoken by Jesus, the word to know is said with the word yadah indicating it is an intellectual knowledge, is at the same time an emotional intimacy. When Jesus says know then he wants to indicate that there is a truthful and very intimate relationship between him and us, his sheep. Precisely because he loves us, he offers his life and remains, giving himself to the end, in Gethsemane. He offers all of himself to free us from the slavery of sin.

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In offering life there is the deepest reason for all the Trinitarian movement. The Lord explains it to us in clear words, continuing in this way:

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«For this the Father loves me: because I give my life, and then pick it up again. Nobody takes it from me: I give it myself. I have the power to give it and the power to take it back again. This is the command I received from my Father ".

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The Eternal Father in fact he entrusted the visible mission to Jesus of incarnating himself, become a man like us, live the days of passion and death and then rise again. Here then is that the Incarnation and Easter have the element of love in common: all of us in the risen Jesus obtain the grace to love and know God. The Trinitarian mentality of offering and self-love overcomes the utilitarian mentality. Because it renews man entirely in God: anima, body and spirit. This deeply questions our lives of faith.

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We want to be mercenaries or shepherds? We want to enter into the perspective of domination or self-offering? If we really choose to strive to be consistent with our vocation, we too enter into the perspective of the Eternal Father who sends Jesus: then we respond to His command, which, however, is not a dictatorial imposition. It is adhering to a project of personal community love which is the expression of a greater freedom. Enter the perspective of the Trinity, it means welcoming our mission which will offer priceless joy and satisfaction.

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We ask the Lord to enter more and more into his perspective of offering and oblation of ourselves, to involve the whole world in the horizon of theological charity and generate the true civilization of love, united in the love of the one Shepherd.

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Rome, 25 April 2021

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