One Minute Reflection – 3 May – “The Month of the Blessed Virgin Mary” and the Feast of the Finding of the Holy Cross – 1 Peter 2:21-25, John 10:11-16
“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 – 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.
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.