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Follow Me

First Reading: Acts 13:14, 43-52

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5

R. (3c) We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Second Reading: Revelation 7:9, 14B-17

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

Then one of the elders said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Gospel: John 10:27-30

Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

NAB

DEV_A17

“I know them, and they follow me.”

Today’s readings so beautifully illustrated God’s love story for each of us, His Church, and the whole world. For many of us, sheep and shepherds aren’t something we often think about or compare ourselves to. But as our shepherd, God provides for us, nurtures us, and intimately knows each of us.

When Jesus came to earth, He not only was to be our Shepherd, but in His humility, became the Lamb who was slain. As we live out our day-to-day faith, Jesus is still at work as our Shepherd. He longs to intimately know us and work through us, transforming us to be ever more like Him. As we allow the gift of faith to be at work in our life, we are able to hear and then to follow the Shepherd’s call.

When we heed the call, we, in turn, become the shepherd to those around us. We are called to bring love and to nurture those put into our life—in short, to imitate Jesus. And that is how we bring the reign of God to the world.

Our world hungers for the intimacy that Christ wants to have with each of us. Every person longs to be loved. To be heard. To be valued. To be truly known. It is our job as Christians to strive to be the one who loves, hears, values, and knows those around us.

Let us live in the knowledge of the intimacy God desires to have with us and seek to share it with those around us.

In closing, here’s a quote I love from Pope Benedict XVI:

“Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd—the task of the fisher of men—can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God’s joy which longs to break into the world.”

Spend some time today contemplating the greatness of what it means that God wants to intimately know you. Then think of one person you can seek to show love to this week by hearing them and letting them know their value.

photo credit

Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.

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