Scripture readings for April 12
What are the roles of shepherds? A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds, guards, herds, and protects his flock. The readings today tell us about Jesus’ role in our life as our shepherd. He is there to guard and protect us in our daily lives.
How many times though do we face difficulties, struggles and evil in our life and question if the Lord is there? I know it can sometimes be challenging in times of adversity to see Christ’s presence and to feel His shepherding role. It is easy to feel forsaken by God, but God will never forsake us. He allows us to have a taste of suffering. Mother Teresa wrote, “ Suffering has to come because if you look at the cross, he has got his head bending down — he wants to kiss you — and he has both hands open wide-he wants to embrace you. He has his heart opened wide to receive you. Then when you feel miserable inside, look at the cross and you will know what is happening. Suffering, pain, sorrow, humiliation, feelings of loneliness, are nothing but the kiss of Jesus, a sign that you have come so close that he can kiss you. Do you understand, brothers, sisters, or whoever you may be? Suffering, pain, humiliation-this is a kiss of Jesus. At times you come so close to Jesus on the cross that he can kiss you. I once told this to a lady who was suffering very much. She answered, ‘Tell Jesus not to kiss me-to stop kissing me.’ That suffering has to come in the life of Our Lady, that came in the life of Jesus-it has come in our life also. Only never put on a long face. Suffering is a gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone inside.”
God will protect us and guard and allow us to experience difficulties and suffering in the world so that we know Christ and His love in a deeper way. Just as a shepherd might guide his sheep through rough areas, he is still with them and assists them in their needs. We come to gain a greater dependence on the Good Shepherd especially while facing times of difficulties and struggle.
Our Shepherd wants to guide and lead us. I know I sometimes struggle discerning God’s will for my life and the direction He has for me. Someone once told me, “God can’t move a parked car.” If we are constantly heading forward, actively praying and seeking out God’s will for our lives, He will show us and direct us. We might be on paths of uncertainty and the unknown but He will always be with us. He will never forsake us.
Just as the shepherd herds the sheep together, our Lord brings us together and provides community in our lives. He provides people to help support us and get through times off difficulty. God uses those around us to provide the strength, support, and comfort in times of need.
As we approach Good Friday, let us reflect on the suffering Christ went through for us. Let us unite our suffering and difficulties to the cross. Our Good Shepherd is there with us through the rough and smooth paths of life. He will guard, protect and never forsake us.