Memory of the Poor

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In Israel today us the Memorial of the Shoah, in which the massacre of the Jewish people in the Nazi concentration camps is remembered.

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, 1-10

'In all truth I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a bandit.

He who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock;

the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out.

When he has brought out all those that are his, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice.

They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him because they do not recognise the voice of strangers.'

Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he was saying to them.

So Jesus spoke to them again: In all truth I tell you, I am the gate of the sheepfold.

All who have come before me are thieves and bandits, but the sheep took no notice of them.

I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe: such a one will go in and out and will find pasture.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.


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 is presented as the “good shepherd” who gathers the scattered sheep and leads them on the path of God. If the image is ancient, its truth is as timely as ever. Perhaps never before have men and women lived in a state of such dispersal and loneliness as today. Individualism, nestled in every human heart, now seems even stronger than it did yesterday: society has become more competitive, more aggressive, and therefore more cruel. The drive to separation is stronger than that towards solidarity: individuals and peoples feel their own interests above everything and everyone. Distances and conflicts grow larger and larger. The dream of equality is even considered dangerous. Not having to depend on anybody and not being swayed or influenced by anyone are exalted as values. In this climate, “thieves” and “robbers” grow and multiply, i.e. those who steal the lives of others for personal gain. Even human life has become a commodity to be sold and to steal. The dictatorship of the market does not spare anyone. And the most vulnerable are the hardest hit and abused. Globalization certainly has made peoples closer; however, it has not necessarily made them brothers. There is need of a “good shepherd” who knows his sheep and saves them, one by one, leading them all in pastures so that they may feed enough. Too many instead are “thieves” and “robbers” who continue to steal other people’s lives, especially those of children, the elderly, and the helpless. And we are many of us risking becoming their accomplices. In fact, every time we shut ourselves up in our self-centeredness, not only do we ourselves become their prey, but we also become accomplices of their robberies. Not surprisingly, Pope Francis stigmatized the globalization of indifference, the absence of weeping for those who die abandoned. And St. Ambrose rightly noted, “Those who reject the only one Lord end up having many owners.” Jesus, the good shepherd, gathers us from dispersion to guide us towards a common destiny, and, if needed, he goes personally to fetch the one who is lost to bring him or her back into the fold. To do this, Jesus is not afraid of passing, if necessary, through death, being sure that the Father gives life to those who spend it generously for others. This is the miracle of Easter. The risen Jesus is the door that has opened so that we may enter into the life that never ends. Jesus does not rob us of life; on the contrary, he gives it to us in abundance, multiplied for eternity.