Thought for the Day – 25 April – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
The Good Shepherd
“The Good Shepherd is the theme of two of the most moving passages in the Gospel. “I am the good shepherd,” Jesus says. “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. But, the hireling, who is not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees. and the wolf snatches and scatters the sheep … I am the good shepherd and I know mine and mine know me, even as the father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for my sheep” (Jn 10:11-15).
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep,” He says elsewhere “and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after that which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it upon his shoulders rejoicing. And on coming home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me because, I have found my sheep that was lost.” “I say to you that, even so, there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than over ninety nine just, who have no need of repentance” (Cf Lk 15:4-7).
These texts vividly describe God’s mercy towards poor sinners.
We may often have been amongst the lost sheep which are separated from the flock of Jesus Christ. We found, perhaps, the poisoned pastures of error and vice and strayed from the path of truth and goodness. But what happened? We experienced disillusionment and remorse and knew that we had lost our only real good, which is God. How sad our fate would have been, if the Good Shepherd, Jesus, had not come to look for us and to enlighten us with His grace. We should have been lost forever, in the desert of sin!”
Quote/s of the Day – 25 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd/, Readings: First: Acts 4: 8-12, salm: Psalms 118: 1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29 (22), Second: First John 3: 1-2, Gospel: John 10: 11-18
“The mark of Christ’s sheep is their willingness to hear and obey, just as disobedience is the mark of those who are not His. We take the word ‘hear’ to imply obedience to what has been said.”
St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Father and Doctor of the Incarnation
“Like Matthew, therefore, follow this most devoted shepherd; like Zacchaeus receive Him with hospitality; like the sinful woman, anoint Him with ointment and wash His feet with your tears, wipe them with your hair and caress them with your kisses, so that finally, with the woman presented to Him for judgement, you may deserve to hear the sentence of forgiveness: “Has no one condemned you? Neither will I condemn you. Go, and sin no more” (Jn 8:10-11).”
One Minute Reflection – 25 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd/, Readings: First: Acts 4: 8-12, salm: Psalms 118: 1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29 (22), Second: First John 3: 1-2, Gospel: John 10: 11-18
“I am the good shepherd and I know mine and mine know me.”- John 10:14
REFLECTION – “Let us consider Christ, our shepherd …. He rejoices in those sheep of His that are around Him and goes in search of those, that stray. Mountains and forests cause Him no fear; He crosses ravines to reach the sheep that is lost. Even if He finds it in a piteous state, He is not angry but touched with pity; He takes it on His shoulders and, from His own weariness, heals the exhausted sheep (Lk 15:4 f.) …
With good reason Christ declares: “I am the Good Shepherd, I seek out the lost sheep, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal (Ez 34:16). I have seen the flock of mankind struck down by sickness; I have witnessed my lambs wander about where demons dwell; I have seen my flock ravaged by wolves. All this I have seen and have not witnessed it from on high. That is why I took hold of the withered hand, gripped by pain as if by a wolf; I have unbound those whom fever had bound; I taught him to see whose eyes had been shut from his mother’s womb; I brought Lazarus out from the tomb where he had lain for four days (Mk 3:5; 1:31; Jn 9; 11). For I am the Good Shepherd and the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” …
The prophet knew this shepherd when, long before His Passion, He declared what would take place: “Like a sheep led to the slaughter or a sheep, dumb before the shearers, he opened not his mouth” (Is 53:7). Like a sheep, the shepherd has offered His neck for His flock …. By His death, He heals from death; by His tomb, He empties the tomb …. The tombs are full and the prison shut until the shepherd, comes down from the cross, He has come to bring His captive sheep the joyful news of their liberation. We see Him in hell where He gives the order for their release (1 Pt 3:19); we see Him call His sheep once more, giving them the call to life from the dwellings of the dead. “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” This is how He intends to win the affection of His sheep and those who know how to listen to His voice, love Christ.” – Basil of Seleucia (Died 448) Bishop of Seleucia, Writer – Oratio 26
PRAYER – Almighty, ever-living God, bring us to the joy of Your heavenly city, so that we, Your little flock, may follow where Christ, our Good Shepherd, has gone before us, by the power of His Resurrection. May the prayers Blessed Virgin, guide us, that we may always follow our Shepherd and thus reach our heavenly home, to praise Him forever. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, with the Holy Spirit, God now and for all eternity, amen.
GOSPEL: John 10: 11-18 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep. 12 But the hireling and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees:and the wolf catches and scatters the sheep. 13 And the hireling flees because he is a hireling: and he has no care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd and I know mine and mine know me. 15 As the Father knows me and I know the Father and I lay down my life for my sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. 17 Therefore, doth the Father love me because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No man takes it away from me: but I lay it down of myself and I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Our Morning Offering – 25 April – The Fourth Sunday of Easter / Good Shepherd Sunday
O Good Shepherd, You Whom My Soul Loves. By St Gregory of Nyssa (c 335–C 395) Father of the Church
Where are You pasturing Your flock, O good Shepherd, Who carry the whole flock on Your shoulders? (For the whole of human nature is one sheep and You have lifted it onto Your shoulders). Show me the place of peace, lead me to the good grass that will nourish me, call me by name so that I, Your sheep, hear Your voice and by Your speech, give me eternal life. Answer me, You Whom my soul loves. … Show me then (my soul says), where You pasture Your flock, so that I can find that saving pasture too and fill myself with the food of heaven, without which, no-one can come to eternal life and run to the spring and fill myself with the drink of God. You give it, as from a spring, to those who thirst – water pouring from Your side, cut open by the lance, water that, to whoever drinks it, is a spring of water, welling up to eternal life. Amen
This is a tiny excerpt from St Gregory of Nyssa’s commentary on the Song of Songs (Cap. 2: PG 44, 802), using the imagery of Psalm 23, appeals to the Lord Jesus Christ for the promised green pastures, restful waters and noonday rest that is the final, eternal destination of those who love God and walk in His ways.
Saint of the Day – 25 April – St Anianus of Alexandria (Died c 86) 2nd Bishop of Alexandria, Consecrated by St Mark the Evangelist and succeeding him, disciple of St Mark. He was Ordained by Saint Mark and was also the first convert Mark won for Christ in the region, in c 48. Also known as – Anian, Annianus. Patronage – cobblers.
The Roman Martyrology states of him today: “At Alexandria, the Bishop St Anianus, disciple of the blessed Mark and his successor in the episcopate. With a great renown for virtue, he rested in the Lord.”
As St Mark was entering Rakotis, a suburb of Alexandria, the strap of his sandal broke. He found a cobbler, St Anianus, to repair it. While he was working on the sandal, the awl slipped in Anianus’ hand, piercing it. Anianus cried ‘“Heis ho Theos” (“God is one”) in response to the pain. Mark took the opportunity to preach the Gospel of Christ to him, at the same time, miraculously healing Anianus of his wound.
St Mark was invited to Anianus’s house, where he taught Anianus’ family the Gospel and baptised them all. A large number of natives of the area were quickly converted by St Mark and his followers, causing those citizens, who did not convert, to feel obliged to defend their local gods against the new faith
St Mark, the outsider, decided it might be best if he were to leave the area for a while. He Ordained Anianus and Consecrated hm as Bishop in his absence. He also Ordained three Presbyters and seven Deacons at the same time, charging the group with zealously watching over the Church.
St Mark was gone for a period of two years, during which time, he is said to have gone to Rome, Aquileia and the Pentapolis, preaching, performing miracles,and winning converts to Christianity at each location.
On St Mark’s return, he found that the Church in Alexandria had grown significantly and, that they were able to build a Shurch for themselves at Bucolia, on the shore of the eastern harbour of Alexandria.
Following the Martyrdom of Mark, Anianus became the Bishop of the Church in Alexandria. He would remain in that capacity for over seventeen years. During that time, the number of Christians in the area grew immensely and Anianus Ordained new Priests and Deacons for the growing Church. The extent of the evangelisation they performed is unknown, although it has been thought by some, that it was done at least somewhat covertly, given the hostility the pagan population demonstrated to the new faith.
Anianus died in bed of natural causes and was buried next to St Mark at the Church in Baucalis.
St Agathopodes of Antioch Bl Andrés Solá Molist St Anianus of Alexandria (Died c 86) 2nd Bishop of Alexandria, after St Mark and succeeding him. Consecrated by St Mark and disciple of St Mark. Bl Antonio Pérez Lários St Callista of Syracuse St Clarentius of Vienne St Ermin of Lobbes St Evodius of Syracuse
St Phaebadius of Agen St Philo of Antioch St Robert of Syracuse Bl Robert Anderton Stefano of Antioch St Valenzio of Mesia Bl William Marsden — Martyrs of Yeoju – 3 saints: Three Christian laymen martyred together in the apostolic vicariate of Korea. 25 April 1801 in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea They were Beatified15 August 2014 by Pope Francis • Ioannes Won Gyeong-do • Marcellinus Choe Chang-ju • Martinus Yi Jung-bae