“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.
Dedication to Jesus
Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my
will. All that I have and cherish You have given me. I surrender it all to be
guided by Your will. Your love and Your grace are wealth enough for me. Give me
these, Lord Jesus, and I’ll ask for nothing more.
May your people exult for ever, O God,
in renewed youthfulness of spirit,
so that, rejoicing now in the restored glory of our
we may look forward in confident hope
to the rejoicing of the day of resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Acts 5:27-32, 40b-41
When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, “We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name? Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and want to bring this man’s blood upon us.”
But Peter and the apostles said in reply, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus, though you had him killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as leader and savior to grant Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, as is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.”
The Sanhedrin ordered the apostles to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name.
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)
CCC 432 The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation,1 so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”2
CCC 450 From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ’s lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Caesar is not “the Lord”.3 “The Church. .. believes that the key, the center and the purpose of the whole of man’s history is to be found in its Lord and Master.”4
CCC 597 The historical complexity of Jesus’ trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts. The personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles’ calls to conversion after Pentecost.5 Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept “the ignorance” of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders.6 Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd’s cry: “His blood be on us and on our children!”, a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence.7 As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council:
… [N]either all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion. .. [T]he Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture.8
CCC 2242 The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”9 “We must obey God rather than men”:10
When citizens are under the oppression of a public authority which oversteps its competence, they should still not refuse to give or to do what is objectively demanded of them by the common good; but it is legitimate for them to defend their own rights and those of their fellow citizens against the abuse of this authority within the limits of the natural law and the Law of the Gospel.11
1 Cf. Jn 3:18; Acts 2:21; 5:41; 3 Jn 7; Rom 10:6-13.
2 Acts 4:12; cf. 9:14; Jas 2:7.
3 Cf. Rev 11:15; Mk 12:17; Acts 5:29.
4 GS 10 # 3; Cf. 45 # 2.
5 Cf. Mk 15:11; Acts 2:23, 36; 3:13-14; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:27-28; I Th 2:14-15.
6 Cf. Lk 23:34; Acts 3:17.
7 Mt 27:25; cf. Acts 5:28; 18:6.
8 NA 4.
9 Mt 22:21.
10 Acts 5:29.
11 GS 74 # 5.
The first thought that strikes us on reading this incident, one of many similar to it in the history of the infant Church in Jerusalem, is the change brought about in the Apostles and disciples by the resurrection and the grace of the Holy Spirit. We see Peter, surrounded by his fellow Apostles, bravely and fearlessly proclaiming the divinity of Christ, not only to the honest, ordinary Jews, but to the members of the highest religious power in the land to those very men, in fact, who had had Christ crucified as a criminal and an impostor.
Only a few weeks earlier the Apostles had run for their lives when Christ was arrested. Peter, partly out of love for his Master and partly out of his desire to know what would happen, followed from a safe distance. But the moment a servant-maid suggested that he was a follower of Christ, he cursed and swore that he had never heard of him!
He repented, indeed very quickly, and he grieved when he heard his Master was condemned to the Cross–but he remained at a safe distance on Calvary. Peter, although he had been chosen to be the head of the Church that Christ would found, was still very human and very concerned with the earthly welfare of Peter.
But all that was changed once he realized his Master was God, and once he received the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit. I’m afraid that if we look into our own hearts, most, if not all of us, will find we have much more of the pre-resurrection Peter in us, and less of the Peter of whom we have read today. Yet we are convinced as Peter was that Christ was and is God. We are as convinced as Peter was that heaven is our true home and that it is by confessing Christ in our daily lives that we can reach that eternal home.
What we lack in our Christian lives is a deeper appreciation of our faith, a more sincere love for Christ and a greater interest in our neighbor’s and our own eternal welfare. There are over five hundred million Christians in the world. If only each one would live up to his faith, the whole world would be Christian in a few generations. Let us strive to be a little more like the St. Peter of whom we read today. That is, let us preach Christ the Savior by the example of our devout and sincere Christian way of living. Let us have the courage to stand up for our faith and defend it always, even if this should cost us our earthly lives. Thousands of martyrs are in heaven today because they did just this. Their human nature was no stronger than ours. Their desire to live on in this world was no weaker than ours. But their love and esteem for their faith made them esteem as of less importance their earthly lives.
We have received the gift of fortitude from the Holy Spirit at our baptism. Let us be ever ready to use this gift in defense of our Christian faith if called on to do so. If we do, not only will we make sure that we will reach our true home in heaven, but we shall bring many others with us who would otherwise have taken a wrong turning and lost their way.
Ps 30:2, 4, 5-6, 11-12, 13
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I will extol you, O LORD, for you drew me clear
and did not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, you brought me up from the netherworld;
you preserved me from among those going down into the pit.
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment;
a lifetime, his good will.
At nightfall, weeping enters in,
but with the dawn, rejoicing.
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
Hear, O LORD, and have pity on me;
O LORD, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O LORD, my God, forever will I give you thanks.
I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.
I, John, looked and heard the voices of many angels who surrounded the throne and the living creatures and the elders. They were countless in number, and they cried out in a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and blessing.” Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe, cry out: “To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever.” The four living creatures answered, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)
CCC 449 By attributing to Jesus the divine title “Lord”, the first confessions of the Church’s faith affirm from the beginning that the power, honor and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because “he was in the form of God”,1 and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory.2
CCC 2642 The Revelation of “what must soon take place,” the Apocalypse, is borne along by the songs of the heavenly liturgy3 but also by the intercession of the “witnesses” (martyrs).4 The prophets and the saints, all those who were slain on earth for their witness to Jesus, the vast throng of those who, having come through the great tribulation, have gone before us into the Kingdom, all sing the praise and glory of him who sits on the throne, and of the Lamb.5 In communion with them, the Church on earth also sings these songs with faith in the midst of trial. By means of petition and intercession, faith hopes against all hope and gives thanks to the “Father of lights,” from whom “every perfect gift” comes down.6 Thus faith is pure praise.
CCC 2855 The final doxology, “For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever,” takes up again, by inclusion, the first three petitions to our Father: the glorification of his name, the coming of his reign, and the power of his saving will. But these prayers are now proclaimed as adoration and thanksgiving, as in the liturgy of heaven.7 The ruler of this world has mendaciously attributed to himself the three titles of kingship, power, and glory.8 Christ, the Lord, restores them to his Father and our Father, until he hands over the kingdom to him when the mystery of salvation will be brought to its completion and God will be all in all.9
1 Cf. Acts 2:34 – 36; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Rev 5:13; Phil 2:6.
2 Cf. Rom 10:9; I Cor 12:3; Phil 2:9-11.
3 Cf. Rev 4:8-11; 5:9-14; 7:10-12.
4 Rev 6:10.
5 Cf. Rev 18:24; 19:1-8.
6 Jas 1:17.
7 Cf. Rev 1:6; 4:11; 5:13.
8 Cf. Lk 4:5-6.
9 1 Cor 15:24-28.
We have here a small glimpse of heaven, which St. John received in a vision and described in symbolic language. The essence of the vision is that Christ in his glorified humanity will have the chief place in heaven after God, and that all rational creatures will sing his praises for ever. Many devout Christians would like to know more about heaven. Any ideas that we have of it are more negative than positive. We know there will be no suffering, no tears, no fears there, and the positive side of that is that it will be a state of perfect and permanent happiness.
St. Paul, who was given a glimpse of heaven, said no human ideas or words could describe it (2 Cor. 12:4). He quotes the prophet Isaiah (64: 4) as saying : “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2: 9). In this life, therefore, we are incapable of forming any complete idea of what our future life in heaven will be like. But we have more than enough knowledge concerning it to make us want to get there.
We all know what happiness means. We have moments of true happiness here on earth, though they are always marred by the knowledge that they cannot last. In heaven, happiness will be unending. We all have experienced true friendship and love in this life, but it was ended or will end by death or by some misunderstanding. True friendship for all mankind and true love for one another and for God, will not only be more complete and unselfish in heaven, but will continue forever. Security is the basis for earthly peace and contentment–if I could be guaranteed that my health and that of all those I love would continue indefinitely, how happy would I not be? If I could promise myself that all financial worries were ended forever, how fortunate could I count myself?
But it is only in heaven that we can and do get this perfect security. Never again, will we have to worry or think of health or provision for the future. Our glorified bodies will be forever immune to tears and fears.
I may not know as much about the future life in heaven as I would like to know, but I know more than sufficient to make me want to go there. Thousands of martyrs and saints have undergone great sufferings in this life and counted them as nothing because they were thus earning heaven. We are not asked to suffer as they did. The vast majority of Christians (and of all others who follow their consciences) will reach heaven by leading normal honest lives, doing what they deem to be right and avoiding what they know to be wrong.
If we do just this, we too will one day join that immense choir of angels and men who are chanting the praises of Christ, the Lamb of God, who earned this supernatural, eternal home of happiness for us.
At that time, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead. When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”
CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (CCC)
CCC 448 Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as “Lord”. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing.1 At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Lord” expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus.2 In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: “My Lord and my God!” It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: “It is the Lord!”3
CCC 553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”4 The “power of the keys” designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: “Feed my sheep.”5 The power to “bind and loose” connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles6 and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.
CCC 618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”.7 But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men.8 He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow [him]”,9 for “Christ also suffered for [us], leaving [us] an example so that [we] should follow in his steps.”10 In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries.11 This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering.12
Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.13
CCC 645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion.14 Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ’s humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father’s divine realm.15 For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith.16
CCC 659 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”17 Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.18 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.19 Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand.20 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.21
CCC 880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, “he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them.”22 Just as “by the Lord’s institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another.”23
CCC 881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the “rock” of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock.24 “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.”25 This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church’s very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.
CCC 1166 “By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ’s Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the Lord’s Day or Sunday.”26 The day of Christ’s Resurrection is both the first day of the week, the memorial of the first day of creation, and the “eighth day,” on which Christ after his “rest” on the great sabbath inaugurates the “day that the Lord has made,” the “day that knows no evening.”27 The Lord’s Supper is its center, for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet:28
The Lord’s day, the day of Resurrection, the day of Christians, is our day. It is called the Lord’s day because on it the Lord rose victorious to the Father. If pagans call it the “day of the sun,” we willingly agree, for today the light of the world is raised, today is revealed the sun of justice with healing in his rays.29
CCC 1429 St. Peter’s conversion after he had denied his master three times bears witness to this. Jesus’ look of infinite mercy drew tears of repentance from Peter and, after the Lord’s resurrection, a threefold affirmation of love for him.30 The second conversion also has a communitarian dimension, as is clear in the Lord’s call to a whole Church: “Repent!”31
St. Ambrose says of the two conversions that, in the Church, “there are water and tears: the water of Baptism and the tears of repentance.”32
CCC 1551 This priesthood is ministerial. “That office. .. which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service.”33 It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a “sacred power” which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all.34 “The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him.”35
1 Cf Mt 8:2; 14:30; 15:22; et al.
2 Cf. Lk 1:43; 2:11.
3 Jn 20:28,21:7.
4 Mt 16:19.
5 Jn 21:15-17; Cf. 10:11.
6 Cf. Mt 18:18.
7 1 Tim 2:5.
8 GS 22 # 5; cf. # 2.
9 Mt 16:24.
10 I Pt 2:21.
11 Cf Mk 10:39; Jn 21:18-19; Col 1:24.
12 Cf. Lk 2:35.
13 St. Rose of Lima: cf. P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).
14 Cf. Lk 24:30,39-40, 41-43; Jn 20:20, 27; 21:9,13-15.
15 Cf. Mt 28:9, 16-17; Lk 24:15, 36; Jn 20:14, 17, 19, 26; 21:4.
16 Cf. Mk 16:12; Jn 20:14-16; 21:4, 7.
17 Mk 16:19.
18 Cf Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26.
19 Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4.
20 Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1.
21 1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16.
22 LG 19; cf. Lk 6:13; Jn 21:15-17.
23 LG 22; cf. CIC, can. 330.
24 Cf. Mt 16:18-19; Jn 21:15-17.
25 LG 22 # 2.
26 SC 106.
27 Byzantine liturgy.
28 Cf. Jn 21:12; Lk 24:30.
29 St. Jerome, Pasch.: CCL 78, 550.
30 Cf. Lk 22:61; Jn 21:15-17.
31 Rev 2:5, 16.
32 St. Ambrose, ep. 41, 12: PL 16, 1116.
33 LG 24.
34 Cf. Mk 10:43-45; 1 Pet 5:3.
35 St. John Chrysostom, De sac. 2, 4:PG 48, 636; cf. Jn 21:15-17.
The primary purpose in recounting this appearance of the Risen Christ to his Apostles, was to stress the actual conferring of the Primacy on Peter. From this very first meeting with Christ at the Jordan (Jn. 1: 42) the Savior had told him that his name Simon bar-Jonah would be changed to Cephas, which means Rock. Some year or so later, at Caesarea Philippi, this change took place when Christ said to Simon: “You are (Peter) Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church. . .and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16: 18-19).
This promise, that Simon would be the foundation, the source of strength and unity, in the new Christian community, was made factual on the occasion described here by John. Christ uses a new metaphor—Simon (Peter) is to be the new shepherd—he would take the place of Christ, as head and director of the Christian flock. He would provide protection and pasturage for Christ’s sheep and lambs. He would, in other words, be the keeper and head of Christ’s Church.
That this position of authority was recognized by his fellow Apostles and by the first Christians, is evident in almost every page of the Acts—the book which describes the infant Church. It was Peter who presided at the election of Matthias, who succeeded Judas in the apostolic college (Acts 1: 15-26); he gave the first Christian sermon after the descent of the Holy Spirit (2: 14-40); he worked the first recorded miracle wrought by any Apostle (3: 1-11); he pronounced sentence on Ananias and Sapphira (5: 1-11); it was he who received the first Gentile convert into the Church (11 :1-18) and it was he who defended Paul’s action at the Council of Jerusalem (15: 6-11).
In face of such evidence no serious historian can doubt but that the other Apostles and the first Christians saw in Peter the living head of the Church, the representative of Christ. The Church in the succeeding generations and centuries saw the successor of Peter, and the living representative of Christ in the occupant of the See of Rome, the bishopric held by Peter, when he was martyred for the faith. History is witness to this.
There were Christians who refused obedience to him, but not one of them claimed for himself the privilege of Peter and his successors. That the Church, the society founded by Christ to bring salvation to the world, should need a visible Head on earth, needs no further (and has not stronger) proof than that Christ himself saw it as necessary and arranged it accordingly. The power of the keys, given to Peter, were more necessary in the second and succeeding generations than in Peter’s day, when the other Apostles were still alive. When Christ laid the foundation of his Church on a Rock, it was to be a Rock that would last as long as the Church. Peter died, but Peter’s office will last until the last man goes to heaven. The Sheep and the Lambs of the twentieth and thirtieth centuries have as much need of pasturage and protection as, if not more than, those of the first century. Christ, our Savior and our Good Shepherd, provided for all time.
Applications written by Fr. Kevin O’Sullivan O.F.M. and used with permission of Franciscan Press.
The Good Shepherd
The human race – every one of us – is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carries us all – he is the good shepherd who lads down his life for the sheep… When the shepherd of all humanity, the living God, himself became a lamb, he stood on the side of the lambs, with those who are downtrodden and killed… It is not power, but love that redeems us! This is God’s sign: he himself is love… God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man. One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep,” says Christ to Peter. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit
Replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation.
Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm.
Replace the anxiety within us with a quiet confidence.
Replace the fear within us with a strong faith.
Replace the bitterness within us with the sweetness of grace.
Replace the darkness within us with a gentle light.
Replace the coldness within us with a loving warmth.
Replace the night within us with your light.
Replace the winter within us with your spring.
Straighten our crookedness.
Fill our emptiness.
Dull the edge of our pride.
Sharpen the edge of our humility.
Light the fires of our love.
Quench the flames of our lust.
Let us see ourselves as you see us
That we may see You.