Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Second Sunday after Easter—19 April AD 2015

[Ordinary of the Mass]
[English Text of Today's Mass]
[Latin Text of Today's Mass]

“I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.”[1]

    We know that our Lord is the Good Shepherd.  As He describes in today’s Gospel, the hired hand, the man who is just paid to watch someone else’s sheep, will not do a great deal to protect the sheep from harm.  But the man to whom the sheep actually belong will go to great lengths to protect his flock.  Judea had a number of dangerous wild animals—in the Old Testament, the shepherd boy, the future King David boasted of killing a lion and a bear before killing Goliath—If the danger is severe, the shepherd might literally wind up laying down his life for his sheep.[2]

    Our Lord is the Good Shepherd, because He laid down His life to protect us, His sheep, against mankind’s most dangerous enemy, the Devil.  As Saint Peter wrote “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking whom he may devour.”[3]  Peter uses the word “devour,” but the danger with the Devil is not so much physical, as it is that he can take your soul.  By comparison, the lion and the bear cannot hurt us very much at all.  “Fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.”[4]  Our Lord gave Himself up in Sacrifice on the Cross, in order to deliver us up from the grip of the Devil, fastened upon mankind when our first parents sinned against God.  By virtue of that Sacrifice, the sheep who truly belong to Him cannot be lost in the fire of Gehenna.

    While it is easy to know that Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd, it may not be so obvious as to whether or not we are among the sheep who belong to His fold.  We may have a piece of paper saying that we are Catholics—that we belong to the Church He founded.  We may even the recite the Creed on Sundays and the words of our Baptismal promises during the Easter Vigil.  But is that enough?  Is that enough to assure us that we are among the sheep for whom He laid down His life?  What are the signs that tell us that we belong to His fold?

·                     The first sign of Christ’s sheep is Faith.  “Mine know Me.” Do we believe in the things that Christ has revealed to us on behalf of His Father in heaven?  Do we believe the things that we recite in the Creed?  Do we believe the things we read in the Bible and all of the things taught with the true teaching authority of the Catholic Church?

·                     The second sign is Hope.  Do we recognize the need to follow the Commandments and the Precepts of the Church, and thereby avoid sinning by presumption?  Do we recognize that if we believe and if we do as we should, then we will receive God’s promised reward, and avoid sinning by despair?

·                     The third sign is Charity.  Do we truly love God?  To answer yes, we much be able to relate an interest to know Him better—an effort to read about Him in Sacred Scripture, and in the writings of His Saints.  Can we report that our prayer life is motivated by love of God?  Are we drawn to attending Mass, and to receiving the Sacraments frequently?
 And, how about our love of fellow men and women?  Do we practice the spiritual and the corporal works of mercy?  Do we have a genuine concern for the poor and the homeless—do we help them generously to the extent our means allow?  Likewise are we concerned for the spiritually ignorant, the afflicted, and the confused—do we go out of our way to counsel the ignorant, the doubtful, and the sinful?  Are we patient and forgiving of those who do us wrong? Do we pray for all those in need of prayers—both the living and the dead?  Does it bother us, as much as it should, that some who should be our Lord’s sheep may, in fact, spend an eternity in Hell?

    Our Lord is prophetic in today’s Gospel:  “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.”  It must be true, for our Lord is Truth Himself!  But when can we expect this “one fold” to appear upon the Earth?  Are we making progress?  When I was a young man, it seemed like we were.  By every measurable statistic the Church was on the way to uniting mankind in Jesus Christ.  Every year there were more Catholics, more priests, more nuns, more bishops, more Catholic schools, colleges, and universities.  Catholics were more accepted in formerly anti-Catholic countries such as our own.  Missionaries were visiting the remote continents, and mission countries were beginning to turn out priests and religious—with some turning out more than they needed, able to send their surplus to other countries.

    Most of those trends reversed in my lifetime.  Instead of “one fold and one Shepherd” modern Catholics seem to seek “diversity and dialogue.”  They seek a false mercy—a sort of “permission to sin” that will surely damn even more souls to Hell. All of those previously growing numbers are now shrinking numbers.

    Yet, our Lord must be believed!!  The trend will be reversed, and unity will eventually prevail.  As traditional Catholics, we are called upon to being living witnesses of our Lord’s one fold.  In all of our dealings—with each other, and with those outside of the Faith—we must live our lives according to the objective truths taught by Jesus Christ and safeguarded by His One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.  We must admit no deviation from the rule of Faith, no plurality of beliefs, no accommodation to the ways of the world.

    Some will suggest that the idea of “one fold” is too narrow and uncharitable.  On the contrary, we can have “one fold and one Shepherd” only if we are charitable.  God’s Positive Law, taught through His revelation and His Natural Law, are authoritative.  In Sacred Scripture, He is clear that His Law must be obeyed.  There is no room for discussion.  To suggest that God’s Law is up for debate would be the most uncharitable thing anyone could do, for it must result in the ruin of souls.

    The one fold of Jesus Christ will be a singular fold of Charity and Truth.  We may not see that “one fold” on Earth during our lifetimes.  Frankly, that doesn’t matter so much as making sure that we are part of that fold on Earth by witnessing to the Truth and the Love of God—by doing so, we will bring other souls to Christ, and we will ultimately be part of the “one fold” that is the beholding of God in the beatific vision of eternity.

“I am the good shepherd;
and I know mine, and mine know me.”








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