My brothers and sisters in Christ,
So as I was saying, today is Mother’s Day so again Happy Mother’s Day to all our mothers and grandmothers who are here! As always we do on this day, we have a little gift for you and then a special blessing after the Mass.
We remember today that the vocation of mothers is a vocation that was shared by the Virgin Mary and so it is beautiful that we remember Mother’s Day during May, which is the Month of Mary in the Church.
As Mary is the Mother of God, she shows us how important the mother’s role is in the family, and in the life of every person.
So today, as I said, we pray for our mothers who are with us, and we pray for our mothers who have gone before us to heaven. And let us also especially pray for women who are expecting to be mothers. May they grow in strength and faith and may they grow closer to Our Blessed Mother Mary — who is the model for every mother and every one of us as followers of Jesus.
And as I also said at the beginning of Mass, today is “Good Shepherd Sunday,” but it also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
So, always on this Fourth Sunday of Easter we hear the beautiful promise of Jesus who is our Good Shepherd, who has tender love for his sheep.
In the Gospel passage we heard this morning, Jesus tells us:
My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
So my dear brothers and sisters, Jesus is talking here about us — about you and about me. He’s telling each one of us today, once again, I know my sheep.
We belong to Jesus. He has so much love for us! He gave his life for us. We belong to him, he will never let us go, nothing can separate us from his love.
So our first reflect today is, once again, to ask for the grace to always trust Jesus. Never doubt his love for you.
It is all personal with Jesus. And he really wants this personal relationship with you and with me. Jesus came to shepherd us, to lead and guide us so that we grow and become the person that God wants us to be.
And again, today, Jesus calls each one of us to hear his voice, to follow him.
Now, hearing his voice takes work, it takes discipline. It is not always easy because our world — our society where we live — can be so noisy and distracting.
Sometimes, we have our own “issues” and they get in the way. We are thinking maybe too much about ourselves and our own problems; maybe we are too judgmental or we need to control things.
So that’s exactly the problem in the first reading of today’s Mass. In the Acts of the Apostles. As we heard, some of the people were jealous of Paul and Barnabas, and that became an obstacle. Their own weakness, their own hardness of heart, meant that they could not hear the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. And that might happen to us in a similar way in different moments in our lives.
But that first reading, we also hear about people in the crowd who were open to hear the Word of the Jesus, the promise of eternal life. So in hearing the Shepherd’s voice through St. Paul and St. Barnabas — it changed everything for them. They were filled with joy, they wanted to glorify God and they spread the Gospel.
So the challenge for each one of us — for all of us — is to listen to Jesus and allow ourselves to have him as the model of our lives. And as much as possible, also, to try to be “good shepherds” for other people.
As we know, the life of Christ, the Good Shepherd is a life of service. So we are also called to the service to God and to one another. But it seems to me that in our time, it is not well understood that in order to be happy, you have to have this attitude of service.
It seems that people think that, in order to be happy, you have to think about yourself. And it’s just the opposite. The path to happiness is the path to make other people happy.
Only when we reach out, in real care and kindness to others, we can really hope to find the happiness we were made for. As what Jesus said:
I came not to be served,
But to serve.
So that is what is expected from the Good Shepherd. That is what Jesus did. And it is also what Mother’s do.
So let us pray today that all of us in our society be more open to this idea of service. Listening to Jesus, allowing him to tell us how we supposed to live our lives, and then also learning from him to really be of service to others, especially to our families and the people that are around us.
Cause everyone, I would say — especially bishops, priests, parents, teachers — all of us who have some authority in life, we need to really imitate Jesus’ life of service. It really makes a big difference in our lives and in the life of society.
So my dear brothers and sisters, this week in our daily lives, let us ask for the grace to be more attentive to hear the voice of Jesus, our Good Shepherd. Let Jesus lead you. Follow him. Try to imitate him. Let us trust that he will lead us to freedom, to the eternal life that he promises.
And let us pray this week for the “shepherds” in the Church. Today as it is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. We want to pray in a special way that more men and women will hear the Shepherd’s voice calling them to be priests and deacons and consecrated men and women. And that we all really allow Jesus to be our Good Shepherd, learning from him, being of service, being a ‘good shepherd’ for everyone around us.
So let us ask Mary, our Blessed Mother, for her intercession. Let us ask her special love today for all mothers. And let us ask her to help us to always listen for the voice of the Good Shepherd and to follow him with courage and confidence.