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Jun 14, 2017

A message from the Bishop of Rome

The three verbs of the shepherd

A message from the Bishop of Rome

Two years ago, at the Angelus, pope François made the portrait of the good shepherd... or rather he described his attitude in three actions, which it is good to remember in this month of the Sacred Heart, our Master.

The Gospel on Sunday, 19 July 2017
(Mark 6:30-34) :
«They were like sheep without a shepherd».

Today’s Gospel tells us that the Apostles, after the experience of the mission, have returned content but also tired. Jesus, filled with understanding, wants to give them some relief; and so he takes them away, to a lonely place, so they can rest a while (cf. Mk 6:31). “Many saw them going, and knew … and got there ahead of them” (v. 33). From this point the Evangelist offers us the image of Jesus of singular intensity, “photographing”, so to speak, his eyes and gathering the sentiments of his heart. The Evangelist states: “As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things” (v. 34).

Let us recall the three verbs in this evocative photogram: to see, to have compassion, to teach. We can call them the verbs of the Shepherd. To see, to have compassion, to teach. The first and second, to see and to have compassion, are always found together in the attitude of Jesus: in fact his gaze is not the gaze of a sociologist or a photojournalist, for he always gazes with “the eyes of the heart”. These two verbs, to see and to have compassion, configure Jesus as the Good Shepherd. His compassion too, is not merely a human feeling, but is the deep emotion of the Messiah in whom God’s tenderness is made flesh. From this tenderness is born Jesus’ wish to nourish the crowd with the bread of his Word, that is, to teach the Word of God to the people. Jesus sees, Jesus has compassion, Jesus teaches us. This is beautiful!

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