Discovering our identity as disciples of the Risen Lord
In his reflection at the Regina Coeli, on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis said the Liturgy “continues with the intention of helping us rediscover our identity as disciples of the Risen Lord.”
Beginning with the first Reading, from the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Father said that St Peter openly declared that the healing of a crippled man was accomplished “in the Name of Jesus,” because there is “no salvation through anyone else.”
In the man who was healed, the Pope said, we see ourselves and our communities. We can all be healed of our spiritual infirmities “if we put our very being in the hands of the Risen Lord."
But who is the Christ who heals, Pope Francis asked? The answer is found in the day’s Gospel: Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Precisely because He offered His life for us, Jesus is the Good Shepherd par excellence.”
The second part of the Gospel, he continued, shows us the relationship that must exist between us and the Lord. “I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus says, “I know my own, and my own know me, as the Father knows me, and I know the Father.” This is not simply an intellectual knowledge, the Pope said, but rather, a personal relationship, a reflection of the love between the Father and the Son. Jesus knows us intimately, in the very depths of our hearts.
And we in turn are called to know Jesus. That, Pope Francis said, “implies an encounter with Him, who raises up in us the desire to follow Him, abandoning self-referential attitudes in order to walk along new paths, indicated by Christ Himself and opening on to vast horizons.” He warned that if our communities see the desire to follow Jesus cool, we will fall into “new ways of thinking and living,” which are not consistent with the Gospel.