The figure of the Good Shepherd, ready to confront the wolf so as to protect and save his sheep even at the cost of his own life (Jn 10: 11-12) is an eloquent and very moving image. Created by Our Lord Jesus Christ himself to describe his own sentiments, it also expresses the pastoral zeal that every Bishop should have for the competent fulfillment of his mission, in collaboration with his priests and under the authority of the High Pontiff, “teaching, sanctifying, and governing” (Vatican Council II. Decree Christus Dominus, no. 11).
As everyone knows, the famous saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” insinuates an adaptation to the customs and culture of the places we visit, in order to feel more at ease and be more easily accepted by the inhabitants. This norm is applied, obviously, to those practices that don’t offend good morals, for it’s also true that as good Catholics we should never frequent places where this could occur. Even more, in places where our faith might be put at risk.
Throughout the ages, stories of heroes – whether true or legendary – have thrilled the hearts of the young. As a result of the disinterested courage and idealism characteristic of their age-group, adolescents dream of great undertakings. To such hearts, burning with desire for heroism, the Church has always presented models that would stimulate true valor, perfect audacity, and authentic generosity – in a word, sanctity. Who is not touched by the courageous lives of young people such as Saint Agnes, Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, and Saint Maria Goretti?
‘Charity begins at home’. This popular expression clearly transmits the attitude that an apostle of the Gospel should have. In fact, no one can give to others what he himself doesn’t possess.
‘You water the hills from your lofty abode; the earth is sated with the fruit of your works’ (Psalm 103:13). This simple material reality presented by the sacred text – of rain that irrigates the mountains, giving rise to springs and streams that in turn water the Earth – was chosen by the Angelic Doctor for his inaugural lecture at the University of Paris.
When the Queen of Sheba heard of the great wisdom of Solomon, she allowed no obstacle to impede her undertaking the difficult journey to meet this great monarch, despite the fact that protracted expeditions at the time were perilous adventures. She made all these efforts just to encounter an earthly king, and to observe his wisdom. Impressed with all she had seen and heard in Jerusalem, and after presenting the richest of gifts to the king of Israel, she returned to her country, filled with admiration (cf. 2Chron 9:1-12).
There are few images that so authentically and poetically reflect the relationship between God and mankind, as the shepherd and his flock. “I am the good shepherd, My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (Jn 10:14, 27).
Ever since antiquity, every time that men get together in societies, the power of judgment has always been attributed to people or groups qualified in order to judge issues and infractions that tend to arise within human interaction. In the Old Testament, Moses determined that wise, intelligent and experienced men be elected among the people in order to guide and judge the tribes in their concerns and controversies, for alone, he could not continue (Deut 1:12-1).
‘A text taken out of context is often a pretext’ the saying goes…As we know, an author’s words may easily be manipulated when only partially quoted. It’s possible, in such cases, to give it a totally new meaning or even a meaning opposite to the original.
Advertizing, news, social networks…we are bombarded on all sides by information…But the information we receive is often contradictory. Who should we listen to? What path should we follow? Where is the real truth to be found?