Morning Meditations for Good Shepherd Sunday ~ St Alphonsus Liguori

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Morning Mediation

“I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD.” (Gospel of Sunday. John x. 11, 16).

Jesus said of Himself: I am the good shepherd. The work of a good shepherd is nothing more than to guide his flock to good pastures, and to guard them from wolves. But what shepherd, 0 sweet Redeemer, ever had mercy like Thee! What shepherd would ever give his life for his sheep? Thou alone, because Thou art a God of infinite love, canst say: I lay down my life for my sheep.

I.

Thus spoke Jesus of Himself: I am the good Shepherd -(John x. 11). The work of a good shepherd is nothing more than to guide his flock to good pastures, and to guard them from wolves; but what shepherd, 0 sweet Redeemer, ever had mercy like Thee? What shepherd has ever given his life to save his flocks and deliver them from the punishment they had deserved?

Who in his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree; that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice; by whose stripes you were healed-(l Peter ii. 24). To heal us of our sicknesses this good Shepherd took upon Himself all our ills, and paid our debts in His own person, dying in agony upon a Cross. It was this excess of love towards us, His sheep, which made St. Ignatius, the Martyr, burn with desire to give his life for Jesus Christ, saying: ” My Love is crucified! What! has my God been willing to die on a Cross for me, and cannot I desire to die for Him?” And, in truth, was it a great thing the Martyrs did in giving their lives for Jesus Christ, when He died for love of them? Oh, how that death endured for them by Jesus Christ made sweet to them all their torments-stripes, piercing nails, fiery plates of iron, and most agonizing deaths!

But the love of this Good Shepherd was not satisfied with giving His life for His sheep; He desired also, after His death, to leave them His flesh itself, first sacrificed upon the Cross, that it might be food and pasture of their souls. “The burning love He bore to us,” says Saint John Chrysostom, “induced Him to unite and make Himself one thing with us.”

Remember, then, my Jesus, that I am one of those sheep for whom Thou hast given Thy life. Ah! cast on me one of those looks of pity with which Thou didst once regard me, when Thou wast dying on the Cross for me. Look on me and change me, and save me. Thou hast called Thyself the loving Shepherd, Who, finding the lost sheep, takes it with joy and carries it on His shoulders, and then calls His friends to rejoice with Him. I love Thee, my Good Shepherd; never permit me to be again separated from Thee.

II.

When this Good Shepherd sees a sheep lost, what does He not do, what means does He not take, to recover it? He does not cease to seek it until He finds it. If he shall lose one of thern doth he not go after that which was lost until he find it-(Luke xv. 4). And when He has found it, rejoicing He places it upon His shoulders, that it may be lost no more; and, calling to Him His friends and neighbours, i.e., the Angels and Saints, He invites them to rejoice with Him for having found the sbeep that was lost. Who, then, will not love with all bis affections this good Lord Who shows Himself thus loving to sinners who have turned their backs upon Him, and destroyed themselves of their own accord?

O my Saviour, worthy of all love, behold at Thy feet a sheep that was lost! I had left Thee, but Thou hast not abandoned me; Thou hast left no means untried to recover me. What would have become of me if Thou hadst not thought of seeking me? Woe is me! How long a time have I lived far from Thee I Now, through Thy mercy, I trust that I am in Thy grace; and as I first fled from Thee, now I desire nothing but to love Thee, and to live and die embracing Thy feet. But while I live I am in danger of leaving Thee; oh, bind me, chain me with the bond of Thy holy love, and cease not to seek for me so long as I live on this earth. I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost; seek thy servant -(Ps. cxviii. 176) 0 Mary, thou advocate of sinners, obtain for me holy perseverance.

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