The most difficult times can produce the greatest spiritual blessings. God truly knows just what we need at every moment!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

4th Sunday of Easter

My sheep listen to  My voice, and I know them. They follow  Me and I give them eternal life.
The readings today show us what it means that Jesus is our shepherd, but they also reveal the truth of what it means to be a sheep and how to look like a man for whom Jesus is the guide.

First of all, people who decide to follow the Shepherd and obey His voice  must know that they may be crticized, ridiculed, judged and even persecuted. But it is precisely in this way in which we aim for our goal of salvation.  
Following Christ is not and never will be easy,  as it has enumerable obstacles.
We live in a country in which there is religious tolerance. But we know that nowadays there is a persecution of Christians in 70 countries of the world.  In the twentieth century, every day about 1,250 Christians were killed about 460 thousand per year. So persecution has not ended. The world is  struggling with God and His followers all the time.
Despite this, Jesus has not changed his Gospel and  He further reaffirms its words with who ever follows Him and listens  to His voice will change his life dramatically.

Can I say that today the Lord is my  Shepherd and I shall not want?
Is it true he is able to give me what I need to live in the twenty-first century?
Surely you can go to Christ by selectively choosing what you want to hear.  No, I am not able to face the world  that tries at all costs to create a false image of faith and the commandments for selfish benefits. Where sin and evil ceases to be merely human weakness.

Many times we hear that surely the church should  move forward and  be progressive on a  number of moral issues. That the church  should be more open to man today because  we  cannot live the same radical commandments  as in the time of Christ.

Yet, God clearly says that we have only  to listen to His voice and we will go a long way towards eternity. 
Unfortunately, we cannot trust only our instincts and rely on our experiences because we need a solid foundation upon which to live.

Yes, some say that God is merciful and always ready to forgive.
But  what about the man who with a life time of premeditation selects only those commandments that are comfortable, easy to follow, that do not require sacrifices does he deserve the mercy of God?

The problem is that by selecting our own way we can never meet God who is ready to forgive  us.
And where do we stand?
On the side of Jesus, or the hypocrisy of the world.?
On the side of life or death?
Who do we listen to more?
Jesus, who demands a lot from us, which might discourage us down the road? Or maybe the promises  of those who require little from us.
Following Christ we must always choose the path of man. An uphill path where there will be an elevator or escalators which gives us the world. This way we only need to move on with our Shepherd.
Let us give  Jesus the permission to show us how to  surrender to Him, for then, He will show us the way to  eternal life.

 – Fr. Tom

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