The message: « God cares for His sheep », because He loves them and holds them close to His heart. The word of God compares the people He cares for to « sheep »; the psalmist thus says: « For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture » Ps 95:7a. Yes, « it is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture » Ps 100:3b. God cares for His sheep and brings them to life. Jesus declares: « The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly » Jn 10:10. So, in the face of the struggles and battles of life that His people face, the Lord commands them: « Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ […] or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the gentiles who seek all these things, and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well » Mt 6:31-33. Jesus says: « I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep » Jn 10:11.
For the sheep of God are precious to Him, so that He protects them as the apple of His eye (Deut 32:10). Consequently, He rebukes harshly the shepherd who, without true love for their sheep, works as a hireling, so that, « [when he] sees the wolf, [he] coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the
wolf snatches them and scatters them » Jn 10:12. There are also unrighteous shepherds, who grow fat on the backs of the sheep of which they have the care (1 Pet 5:2-3), and for them, « their god is the belly » Phil 3:19b. Blessed are the sheep that have the Lord for their God; they can sing: « The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters » Ps 23:1-2. What assurance, and what peace!
Monday, 24th: God takes care of His people.
« I myself will search for my sheep » Ezek 34:11a.
Reading 1: Jn 10:1-10. Reading 2: Ezek 34:11-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ezek 34:11.
Introduction: Today’s pericope is a word from God that shows His jealousy. This last one comes from His love for His sheep by which He protects them so that they are not harmed, according to these words of Jesus: « My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand » Jn 10:27-28. He promises us that He does not
forsake His own, saying: « I will never leave you or forsake you » Heb 13:5b.
Tuesday, 25th: God cares for his sheep and protects their lives.
« The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him » Ps 34:7a.
Reading 1: Mt 10:22-33. Reading 2: Ps 34:1-10. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Ps 34:7.
Introduction: God is jealous of His sheep and protects them from all their enemies. He gives His sheep the assurance that He is the Almighty God. Jesus said: « My Father, in regard to what he has given me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one » Jn 10:29-30. His sheep therefore enjoy complete peace in the face of their enemies, which makes them sing like King David: « You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil » Ps 23:5a,b.
Wednesday, 26th: The Good Shepherd cares for the souls of His sheep.
« For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses » Heb 4:15a.
Reading 1: Jn 13:1-5. Reading 2: Heb 4:14-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Heb 4:15.
Introduction: God knows only too well the spiritual sufferings of His sheep, caused by their perdition which entails their separation from Him. This is why He took pity on them, and He accepted to carry their sufferings. This is the reason for the coming of His only Son, Jesus Christ, for « surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases » Isa 53:4a. He intends the peace of the soul of His sheep and says to them: « Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest » Mt 11:28.
Thursday, 27th: Feed the sheep of God.
« Tend the flock of God that is in your charge » 1 Pet 5:2a.
Reading 1: Jn 21:15-25. Reading 2: 1 Pet 5:1-4. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Pet 5:2.
Introduction: The communion of cause of Jesus with His disciples is deep, so that He affirms to them: « Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and » Jn 14:12. Thus He entrusted to the Apostles this message that He gave to Peter: « Feed my sheep » Jn 21:16b. He taught them His self-denial moved by love in the care of His sheep, self-denial which led Him to suffer to the death, in order to save them. In fact, He tells us: « No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends » Jn 15:13.
Friday, 28th: The faithful shepherd sacrifices himself to care for his sheep.
« I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep » Jn 10:11b.
Reading 1: Isa 46:3-10. Reading 2: Jn 10:11-16. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jn 10:11.
Introduction: By giving His life to save them, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, left a perfect model of love to His disciples, so that they take care of the sheep of God. Therefore, the apostle Paul wrote in his turn: « But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace » Acts 20:24.
Saturday, 29th: God’s care for His sheep is boundless.
« I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you » Jer 31:3.
Reading 1: Heb 13:5-6. Reading 2: Jer 31:1-6. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Jer 31:3.
Introduction: God is Love. His love for His sheep is total and without limit, so much so that He gave them even His life to save them. Indeed, it is written: « Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end » Jn 13:1. And, because He does not want to leave His sheep alone or orphans, He gives them the guarantee that He loves them with a constant and infinite love, a love that lasts until His return and forever. He declares: « And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age » Mt 28:20b.
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