A Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep.
According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis reiterated this during his daily morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta today, June 22, 2017.
Drawing inspiration from today’s readings, the Holy Father focused on the figure of the Apostle St. Paul and then turned his attention to the example offered by Don Lorenzo Milani. On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, Pope Francis took a day trip to pray at the tombs of Don Lorenzo Milani, in Barbiana, and Don Primo Mazzolari, in Bozzolo.
Like Fr. Milani, the parish priest of Barbiana, the Pope recalled today, one should take care of one’s neighbour.
Reiterating that “the Good Shepherd gives his life for his sheep,” the Jesuit Pope drew on today’s readings to speak on the three characteristics a Good Shepherd should possess.
The Shepherd’s first characteristic, he said, “is to be passionate, zealous.”
“He cannot be a true shepherd without this fire,” Francis said.
The second feature, he continued, is, “someone who knows how to discern: to discern where the dangers are, where the graces are… where the real road is.”
In practice, this means, the Pope said, the Shepherd always, in the good and bad moments, accompanies and patiently “brings them to the fold.” The true shepherd, he added, knows how to discern, on guard against at the seduction of evil.
The third feature, he noted, is “the ability to denounce,” meaning knowing how to report evil and to not be naïve.
“An apostle cannot be naive: ‘Ah, it’s all right, let’s go ahead, eh? It’s all right … Let’s party, everyone … everything is possible …’. because there is the fidelity to the only groom, to Jesus Christ, to be defended. And he knows how to condemn it: that concreteness, to say ‘ no,’ like the parents say to the baby when he starts to clap and goes to the electric socket to put his fingers in : ‘No, no! It’s dangerous!'”
Pope Francis concluded, praying for all the shepherds of the Church to serve the Lord well.