Today is the Sunday of the Good Shepherd. I look at it with sentiment, because it was Jesus as a shepherd that spoke to me, when I really met with Him for the first time about 8 years ago. He found me as a small and lost sheep and put a bell around my neck with the words “property of Jesus Christ.” From that moment, I’m sure that wherever I get lost, He will always find me.
These days we celebrate the 1050 anniversary of the baptism of Polish. This is a great event for our country, which has deeply influenced the fate of Poles. We do not know what would have happened to us, if it was not that faith left on our lands. However, I have some difficulty with the celebration, because baptism of nations sounds to me like something imposed, enforced and taking away people’s freedom. Now it looks different, because parents consciously and voluntarily (hopefully!) come to the Church for this most beautiful gift for their children.
The Good Shepherd does not put a fence around the meadow, so sheep stay where they should, but when a sheep gets lost, he goes running after her risking His own life. That is the heroism of love.
On Friday I had the pleasure to meet with students and talk about discernment. In this context, I was touched by Ananias from the first reading. He was truly a master of discernment. He was able to hear the precise command of Jesus and go through with it in totally absurd circumstances. After all, he was sent to the greatest persecutor of Christians at that time! When we read this story today, we surely have in mind Paul after his conversion, his great works, numerous journeys, Apostle of nations … and yet that was not the person Ananias was sent to. He was sent to Saul, still burning with desire to put to death the disciples of the Lord. What courage to even think that such a voice could come from God! He has doubts, asks and waits for a response, but when he is enlightened, he does not hesitate to throw himself down the cliff after a voice which he recognized as God’s. He goes to Saul and says, “Brother Saul…”. He calls the man, who murdered his friends “brother”.
The Good Shepherd does not look down on His sheep, but goes to the most rebellious and dangerous one, looks her in the eye and says “brother”. That is the heroism of love.
This week we pray for vocations to religious life, because surely this heroic love deserves a very heroic answer. May the Good Shepherd give courage to the ones that are called.