April 13,2008 4th Easter Year A

Scripture: Psalm 23
John 10: 1-18
The 4th Sunday of Easter is called "Good Shepherd Sunday". Jesus identifies himself with Psalm 23 when He says:"I am the good
shepherd. I call my sheep by name, they recognize my voice and they follow me". I give here a summary of a section (#6) of
Pope Benedict's recent encyclical "On Christian Hope".
"The Lord is my shepherded: I shall not want... Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil,
because you are with me... (Psalm 23). Every single one of us, because we are human, must face death. Death is a path when we
seem to be so alone ('the path of final solitude'). BUT WE ARE NOT ALONE when we face death. Jesus is by our side. Jesus
himself faced the loneliness and fear of death, and now he comforts us by saying : "Fear not, I am with you."
Jesus experienced death, but now through his Resurrection He has returned to accompany each of us when we face death.
"He comforts me with his shepherd's rod and staff: (Here let us remember the basic meaning of com-fort, it is the same root as
fort-ify, i.e. strengthen).
I find Psalm 23 great comfort. As the Pope says, it is the source of a 'new hope'. If anyone who reads this web site feels
scared or down-hearted read again slowly and prayerfully Psalm 23. Remember Jesus said: "I am the Good Shepherd. I call each
of my sheep by name." Indeed Jesus is the gate through which we can pass and find new hope. Having hope like this can give a
sparkle to our daily lives.