In today’s Gospel Jesus talks about the shepherd who walks ahead of his sheep, “and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.” In The Joy of the Gospel Pope Francis reminds us that people will hear us if we are involved, supportive and people of joy.
An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of God’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Lord gets involved and he involves his own, as he kneels to wash their feet. He tells his disciples: “You will be blessed if you do this” (Jn 13:17).
An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice (paragraph 24).
Flor McCarthy gives another sense of that compassion and healing that can happen in our lives.
Compassion is not learned without suffering.
Unless we have suffered and wept,
we really don’t understand what compassion is,
nor can we comfort someone who is suffering.
Unless we have walked in darkness,
we can’t help wanderers to find their way.
But if we have suffered we become pathfinders for others.
And it is by reaching out to others
that we ourselves are healed.
Jesus bore the marks of our violent world on his body.
Those wounds were the proof of his love.
They were the mortal wounds the Good Shepherd
picked up in caring for his sheep.
The wounds of Jesus are a source of consolation,
courage, and hope to us in our suffering.
By his wounds we are healed.
So who is it that hears your voice?
For all mothers and mother figures, we thank you for who you are and how you bless our lives with the sacrifices you make, the love that you show. I pray that you have a most blessed day.