Memory of the Poor

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 10, 11-18

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;

he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,

just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.

And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd.

The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.

No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as I have power to lay it down, so I have power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In this Gospel passage, Jesus refers to himself as the "good pastor" who gathers the scattered sheep and guides them along God’s path. The image may seem ancient, but the dispersion of men and women in the world in which we live is extremely current. Individualism, nestled in the heart of every person, today seems even stronger than yesterday: society has become all the more competitive, aggressive, and cruel. The push toward disaggregation seems much stronger than the one toward solidarity: individuals, as well as peoples, pursue their interests over everyone and everything. Distances and conflicts grow more numerous. The dream for equality is even considered dangerous. And even the fact of not having to depend on anyone or to be influenced or conditioned by anyone else is exalted as a value. In this climate, "thieves" and "bandits" - the ones who steal life from others for their personal gain - increase and multiply. Even human life also becomes a commodity to sell or steal. The dictatorship of the market spares no one. And the weakest are the most penalized and violated. There is a need for a "good pastor" who knows his sheep and saves them, one by one, leading them to safe pastures and taking care that all can sufficiently nourish themselves. Too many people, however, are the "thieves" and "bandits" who continue to steal life. And unfortunately, all run the risk of becoming their accomplices. Each time we close ourselves in our egocentrism, not only are we prey to them, but we also become accomplices to their stealing. Saint Ambrose noted with good reason: "How many masters end up having those who refuse the one Lord!" Jesus, the good pastor, gathers us from our dispersion and guides us toward a common destiny; and, if needed, he goes to personally take whoever is lost and lead them back to the fold. In order to do this, he does not fear passing through death, if necessary; he is certain that the Father gives life back to whoever spends it generously for others. This is the miracle of Easter. The risen Jesus is the gate that opens so that we may enter into eternal life. Jesus does not rob us of our life; on the contrary, he gives it to us abundantly, multiplied for eternity.