Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!

Monday, April 22, 2013

John 10:11-18 Sheep like Shepherds

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said:  “I am the good shepherd.  A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
For those who ride horses, it must be annoying to see a horse, once fully washed, roll in the dirt!  Sometimes you wonder if a horse can really appreciate all the love it receives.
I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis’ book, “The Problem of Pain.”  In it, he writes: 
“If God is love, He is, by definition, something more than mere kindness.  And it appears, from all the records, that though He has often rebuked us and condemned us, He has never regarded us with contempt.  He has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”
He then goes on to say that our unique relationship with God “can be apprehended only by analogies.”   No wonder the Lord uses the analogy of a shepherd with his sheep.  While it is an example we can all observe and relate to, and is somewhat familiar to us; it is, at the same time, difficult to comprehend and a bit shocking, at least for the sheep.
A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.  Because of our nature, we can express love in various ways.  One way, universally understood by all, is through our actions.  We all know that the more you love someone, the more you sacrifice for them.
Hence, it’s not hard to understand why a husband (or wife) would sacrifice their life for their spouse; they are confident the other would do the same.  It's not hard to understand why a father (or mother) would sacrifice their life for their child.  They know that one day their child will grow to understand and appreciate it.  Now I would submit to you that it isn’t hard to understand why someone would sacrifice their life for someone they don’t even know (or love).  We know, and are convinced by history, that that kind of love is met with great fanfare.
But to sacrifice one’s life for an animal?  Especially an animal that can hardly comprehend what its master thinks or does?  That’s hard to grasp, not only for ourselves but for the animal as well!  But here, I think, is where we now begin to penetrate the heart and mind of God’s love for us.   
In today’s first reading, the Lord tells Peter to evangelize the pagans.  This type of love is hard for the Jews to understand.  After all, they are God’s chosen people.  But God’s love, it turns out, reaches out and goes beyond any chosen ones. 

His love, in fact, even reaches out to us! 
This morning I celebrated Mass at a local Catholic High School.  Prior to the Liturgy of the Eucharist, I asked the kids if they had any prayer intentions.  No one spoke up.  Not a single student.   I told them they just proved to me the point I made in my homily; that is, “God’s love is superior to ours.” 

I questioned them:  “Are you going to tell me that no one here could think of anyone who might need our prayers?  Did any of you remember the victims of West, Texas?  Did anyone think of the Boston bombing victims?  Did any of you think of praying for the terrorists?  You see, unlike God, we have a tendency to remain in our own little world.  Now maybe some of you are thinking about what you have next, or some big exam that is coming up, but try to think of your next door neighbor and what they may be going through.” 
God’s love for us is so undeserving.  Like that of a shepherd, He has entered into a relationship (marriage?) that belittles Him and is unworthy of Him.  Let's face it:  His love outweighs and outperforms our love for Him.  God’s love for us goes beyond our comprehension, period.  And as sheep can never love like the shepherd, or even sacrifice like the shepherd, so mankind can never reach the depths or the heights of the Good Shepherd’s love.  We try, but hesitate.  We buckle and collapse under peer pressure or under our very own doubts and weaknesses.  
God loves the sinner.  He loves the atheist.  He loves those who do not acknowledge Him or even love Him.  He suffered and died for all of us, even while we looked down and went about grazing in His fields.
Although God’s love goes beyond our abilities and comprehension, some sheep are trying harder than others to be more like their shepherd.  It’s impossible, but it’s worth trying.  It makes a lot of difference.


  1. At one time I was able to open the readings but for sometime now, I can not.
    Father thank you for all you do for the D of Dallas. I am glad you stayed here.
    I always look forward to your mediations. They are so inspiring. Hope your sermons will be on the media soon.

  2. Beautiful Meditation Father :) we should stop living in our bubble world and open our eyes to see what is really going on in today's world.

    We need to try and understand, what it would be like to live in their shoes and what those victims in West Tx and/or Boston are going through ! ;(

  3. We all know that the more you love someone, the more you sacrifice for them.
    I agree with your statement. It’s just that when I reverse that statement and expect my neighbor to sacrifice for me is when I get into trouble. Expectations of others are so detrimental to a relationship. I do not expect my husband to change: I must accept who he is and love him where he is. Words to “help” him change only motivate him to take a stance in his own righteousness. I think most of us are like this; I know I am. Expectations, blame, deserve and ambition are four words I am trying to take out of my vocabulary. They are poison to my spiritual life.
    My personality is such that if someone is pushing me to do something, I tend to pull back with just as much intensity. I’ve always been this way; maybe that’s why my parents and I didn’t get along well when I was growing up. But I think most people are this way. That’s why parenting teenagers is difficult in this age. You have to show them love and discipline at the same time and define it (show it) in such a way that they will know the difference.

    Great meditation!

  4. "Now I would submit to you that it isn’t hard to understand why someone would sacrifice their life for someone they don’t even know (or love). We know, and are convinced by history, that that kind of love is met with great fanfare."

    "that kind of love" is the furthest thing from love!

    You mean like the firefighters & EMTs that died in the West explosion? I guess they are now really beaming with pride in their coffins that everyone is talking about them. Really? Is that what you think motivates people to do good? I lost 2 classmates in that fire! They were not prideful men! They were holy, simple, down-to-earth guys who would help any and everyone.... and not desire any accolades for doing it. Yes, they would be talking about it if they were alive, like all war stories, but only for a conversation piece. Why do we think the worse in people instead of their good? I just don't get it.

  5. I don't know anyone who would risk their life for fanfare (a salute). I do know of hundreds of people who risked their life and received a fanfare (a salute).

  6. "We all know that the more you love someone, the more you sacrifice for them..."
    "Now I would submit to you that it isn’t hard to understand why someone would sacrifice their life for someone they don’t even know (or love). We know, and are convinced by history, that that kind of love is met with great fanfare."

    In other words, that kind of love is acknowledged, saluted, honored and what??? AS LOVE! Unconditional Love. That is, a love that is not based on being loved.

  7. Father Alfonse, I try so hard to love unconditionally. It's something that is not natural to me. I come from third world country, my survive instincts is very strong. It protect only my flesh not my soul. You don't know what it feel like to fight against your natural instinct everyminutes. I can't even take my mind off Jesus a minute without sinning. The only reason why I fight so hard is because I just want to be with Jesus one day.

  8. My apologies Fr Alfonse. I misinterpreted your words then jumped to conclusions. It is revealed who is the one who is thinking the worst of others….even if I am anonymous.

    Thank you everyone for prayers for everyone. We still need each other.

  9. Don't worry. I misunderstand people all the time. :) I just wish I paid closer attention during English class!!!


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