This Sunday, in the prayers of the Mass and in the Gospel (John 10:11-18), we hear about the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, God the Son, who gave His life for His sheep.His sacrifice gave life to His sheep and brought them back to the fold.Years later, Saint Peter confirmed Christians in their faith by reminding them in the midst of persecution what Jesus Christ had done for them: “By His wounds you have been healed.For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
At every Mass, where the One Sacrifice of Jesus Christ is made present and He gives us Himself in the Holy Eucharist, the whole Church prays that the continuing work of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, will bring us eternal joys.We ask God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to give us the strength and courage of Christ our Shepherd and to lead us to join the saints in Heaven.Prayers in the Mass invite us to meditate on our Savior’s mercy, love and braveness so that we recognize what He has done for each one of us by His Passion, Death, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven.Prayers in the Mass are always intended to draw us into deeper communion with God.
May we also pray for the shepherds whom Jesus has given to guide us and keep us in His Name.The Lord appointed Saint Peter the shepherd of His whole flock, handing Peter the Keys to the Kingdom and giving him authority to lead and guide the entire Church (Matthew 16; John 21).We pray for Pope Francis, the 265th Successor to Saint Peter, who continues to proclaim to the world the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead, proclaiming the Truth with faith, hope and love – may he do so with greater clarity as well.The Lord tells us at least three things about the true Shepherd – He gives His own life for His sheep; He knows them and they know Him; He is at the service of unity.
In Saint Peter and his successors, and in holy, obedient and courageous bishops, priests and in religious sisters and brothers, and in all faithful lay leaders, Our Lord’s mission continues: inviting and encouraging all people to meet Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead, in a life-affirming and life-changing way.On this World Day of Prayer for Vocations in the Church (April 22), let us continue our prayers especially for priests and bishops, through whom God gives us the Holy Eucharist that sustains His Church and each of us.As the Fathers of Vatican Council II stated, Jesus Christ put Peter at the head of the other Apostles, and in him He set up a lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity of both faith and communion (Lumen gentium, 18).Ubi Petrus ibi Ecclesia – where Peter is, there is Christ’s Church.In union with the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ, we know with certainty the Way that leads to salvation: Jesus Christ, the True Shepherd, the Only Savior of the world.
With peace and prayers in Christ,