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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

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St. Jane Frances de Chantal

Ezekiel 34:1-11
Psalm 23
Matthew 20:1-16

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the shepherd who is god and becomes a lamb

"For thus says the Lord God: I Myself will look after and tend My sheep." —Ezekiel 34:11

God's sheep were in bad condition. They were malnourished (see Ez 34:3), weak, sick, injured, strayed, lost (Ez 34:4), scattered, and vulnerable to "all the wild beasts" (Ez 34:5). In many places today, God's sheep are also in critical condition. Our society, parts of the Church, many families, and countless Christians are in critical condition. However, there is hope in Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

Jesus has already provided for the shepherding of all His sheep by laying down His life as the sacrificial Lamb of God (see Jn 1:29; 10:11). The Shepherd paradoxically and mysteriously became a Sheep, even a Lamb, in order to save His sheep. Moreover, Jesus did not destroy those oppressing His sheep, but He let Himself be destroyed even to death on the cross. Then the Lamb Who was slain (Rv 5:6) rose from the dead and is now seated as God at the right hand of the Father. In heaven, all cry out: "Worthy is the Lamb That was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and praise!" (Rv 5:12) If we are willing to follow the Shepherd-Lamb, even in His sufferings, we will go to heaven and share forever in the wedding feast of the Lamb (Rv 19:9).

Jesus said: "My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me" (Jn 10:27). Follow Him.

Prayer:  Father, when I pray to the Lamb of God at Mass before receiving Holy Communion, may I mean what You want me to mean.

Promise:  "Thus the last shall be first and the first shall be last." —Mt 20:16

Praise:  St. Jane Frances followed the voice of her Good Shepherd through the various vocations of her own life as wife, mother, widow, and foundress of eighty-five monasteries.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Richard L. Klug, January 16, 2004

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 26, 2004