"The more a person loves God, the more reason he has to hope in Him. This hope produces in the Saints an unutterable peace, which they preserve even in adversity, because as they love God, and know how beautiful He is to those who love Him, they place all their confidence and find all their repose in Him alone.”-Saint Alphonsus Liguori: (1696 – 1787: He was canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius IX in 1871.)
Gospel Text: (JN 10:22-30)
The feast of the Dedication was taking place in Jerusalem.
It was winter.
And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
"How long are you going to keep us in suspense?
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
Jesus answered them, "I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father's name testify to me.
But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.
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."
Imagine a life without hope. Imagine a life in which we live with our struggles and our fears daily without having anything to look forward to. Parents do their best to raise their children, but when the children grow up they become ungrateful to their parents. A teenager suffering from great insecurity may have no reason to stop him/her from hurting himself/ herself, maybe even committing suicide. These are examples of life without hope.
Centuries ago God chose a people to be his own, the people of Israel. He made a covenant to save them. Then Jesus came as the "Good Shepherd," not only for his flock but even for the sheep of other flocks. He came to save not only the people of Israel but all who believe in him.
We need to follow someone in our lives, someone trustworthy who will never lead us astray. That someone is Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who will give meaning to our lives, to our sufferings and trials, and give us hope for joy and everlasting life through his resurrection.