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Regina Coeli Address: On Good Shepherd Sunday

‘Jesus Is Attentive to Each One of Us; He Seeks Us and Loves Us as We Are’

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Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Regina Coeli with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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 Before the Regina Coeli:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
In today’s Gospel (Cf. John 10:27-30), Jesus appears as the true Shepherd of the People of God. He speaks about the relationship that binds Him to the sheep of the flock, namely, to His disciples, and He insists on the fact that it’s a relationship of mutual knowledge. “My sheep — He says — hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (vv. 27-28). Reading this phrase attentively, we see that Jesus’ work is explained in some actions: Jesus speaks, Jesus knows, Jesus gives eternal life, Jesus guards.
 Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is attentive to each one of us; He seeks us and loves us, giving us His word, knowing our hearts in depth, our desires and our hopes, as well as our failures and our disappointments. He receives and loves us as we are, with our good points and our bad points. He gives each one of us “eternal life”: that is, He offers us the possibility of living a full life, without end. Moreover, He guards us and guides us with love, helping us to go on impervious paths and at times risky roads that appear in the path of life.
To the verbs and gestures that describe the way in which Jesus, the Good Shepherd, relates to us, are compared the verbs that regard the sheep, namely, us: “hear my voice,” “follow Me.” They are actions that show in what way we must respond to the Lord’s tender and considerate attitudes. To listen to and to recognize His voice implies, in fact, intimacy with Him, which is consolidated in prayer, in the heart-to-heart encounter with the divine Teacher and Shepherd of our souls. This intimacy with Jesus, this being open, speaking with Jesus, reinforces in us the desire to follow Him, coming out of the labyrinth of mistaken ways, abandoning egoistical behaviors, to set out on new ways of fraternity and of the gift of ourselves, in imitation of Him.
Let’s not forget that Jesus is the only Shepherd who speaks to us, who knows us, who gives us eternal life and guards us. We are His flock and we must only make an effort to hear His voice, while He scrutinizes with love the sincerity of our hearts. And from this constant intimacy with our Shepherd, from this conversation with Him, springs the joy of following Him, allowing ourselves to be led to the fullness of eternal life.
We now turn to Mary, Mother of Christ the Good Shepherd. May She, who responded promptly to God’s call, help, in particular, all those called to the priesthood and to consecrated life, to receive with joy and willingness Christ’s invitation to be His more direct collaborators in the proclamation of the Gospel and in the service of the Kingdom of God in this our time.
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester] © Libreria Editrice Vatican
After the Regina Coeli:
 Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Celebrated in many countries today is “Mother’s Day.” I would like to send a dear greeting to all mothers, thanking them — an applause for all mothers! — for their precious work in the upbringing of children and in guarding the value of the family. We also remember the mothers that look at us from Heaven and continue to watch over us with prayer. Our thought goes also to our heavenly Mother, whom we will celebrate tomorrow, May 13, with the name Our Lady of Fatima. We entrust ourselves to Her to continue on our way with joy and generosity.
Observed today, Fourth Sunday of Easter, “Good Shepherd” Sunday, is the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, whose theme this year is: “The Courage to Risk for God’s Promise.” The courage to risk for God’s promise: it’s always a risk to follow Jesus; courage is needed. In all the communities there is prayer, particularly, for vocations to the priesthood and to consecrated life. This morning, in Saint Peter’s Basilica, I had the joy to ordain nineteen new priests. While I greet affectionately these new presbyters, together with their relatives and friends, I invite you to remember all those the Lord continues to call by name, as he did one day with the Apostles on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, so that they become “fishers of men.” Of these nineteen men, I invited two of them to greet you and bless you with me.
I greet you all, families, parish groups and individual faithful from Italy and from different countries. In particular, I greet the pilgrims from Texas and those from Valencia; the faithful of Gela and of Pistoia; the Confirmation youngsters of Parma, the scouts of Cossato and those of Frosinone. And now I will ask these new priests to bless you all with me.
[Blessing] I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye!
[Original text: Italian]  [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester] © Libreria Editrice Vatican

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Virginia Forrester

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