Do Not Let Yourselves Be Led Astray
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Do Not Let Yourselves Be Led Astray
Dear brothers and sisters,
We are on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which traditionally is called Good Shepherd Sunday, a perfect tribute to the Risen Lord. For, indeed, He laid down his life for us, the true test of a shepherd’s care for the sheep.
In her message, Our Lady sees the Good Shepherd as the Way, the Truth and the Life. “You will not be misled by this world if, led by me by the hand, you follow Jesus, your Truth, your Way and your Life” (125 s). We will read Message 125, “Do Not Let Yourselves Be Led Astray,” from the book “To the Priests, Our Lady’s Beloved Sons.”
I. GOSPEL READING (John 10:11-18)
Jesus said: I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.
Points for Reflection
Jesus is the “good shepherd” because He laid down His life for His sheep, the true test of the shepherd’s care. This contrasts Him with the “hired man” who has no concern for the sheep because he works only for pay. Love impels Him to offer His life, establishing a profound relationship of intense love with each one of His sheep. “I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” In laying down His life and taking it up again, He made it possible for us to become “children of God,” John tells us in the Second Reading (1 Jn. 3:1-2). “We are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Belonging to God’s flock lifts us up out of this world, though we are still in it, leading us to transformation into perfect Love, as Jesus the Good Shepherd is. A sheep becoming like the Shepherd? This is amazing! “By the Lord has this been done, and it is wonderful in our eyes” (Ps 118:23), our Psalm says.
God’s flock includes “other sheep.” Thus, Jesus gave his apostles the mission to shepherd all peoples. At the start of their mission, Peter explains that their work is done “in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:8-12). It is in that “name” that the miracle happens. In that “name” alone, man finds his salvation. Through their ministry, Jesus continues to speak (Lk. 10:16), forgive sins (Jn. 20:23), and make His body and blood present in the breaking of the bread (Lk. 24:35). It is a mission that will continue until “there will be one flock, one shepherd.” As the apostles were given this awesome task of shepherding, so are their successors, i.e., the Pope and the bishops united with him. They carry the shepherd’s staff to remind them that shepherding is not theirs, but done in Jesus’ name. Let us follow our shepherds and commit ourselves to be more faithful followers.
April 23, 1977
Points for Reflection
Our Lady warns us of the “diabolical seductions” in a world gone astray, that endanger us into falling to darkness and sin. She presents three such seductions:
While speech is used to deceive and to spread error, the seduction is done especially through the mind. Thus, man can easily rationalize to propose as values real violations of both the natural and the divine law. To hide the truth, euphemism is used to present such ideas “as truth.” Pope Benedict warned us: "We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires." For this, Our Lady urges us to imitate Her, humble, docile and obedient, looking only to Jesus who is the Truth.
Pictures convey a thousand words. At present, images are used to spread and extol obscenity and immorality. Accessible through technology, children are easily exposed to these images and infected by them. Many forms of media now subtly justify moral aberration in the name of (wrongly understood) freedom. For this, She wants us to look to Her, who keeps our eyes on Jesus who alone is our way.
These are the things people do, the secular lifestyle that ignores God and fails to see evil. This has formed a selfish attitude that diminishes the capacity to love, to sacrifice and to walk righteously. Thus, Our Lady urges us to follow only Jesus. He helps us face the world, while keeping our eyes towards paradise. “He ascended into heaven to help you to be in the world, while not being of the world.”
Seeing how the world has gone astray, Our Lady exhorts us: “The danger of being lost is much greater for all. I urge you to trust and take refuge in me through your act of consecration” (373 b-c). This is the safest way to fight the seductions in the world. “If you remain in the garden of my Immaculate Heart, you become my property. Thus, no one can any longer take you away from me, because I myself am your defense; you should always feel safe. You must no longer fear either Satan, or the world, or the frailty of your nature” (133 a-d). Our Lady explains that through consecration, She “draws upon us the power of God, which forms in us Jesus, in all his fullness” (148 d). Consecration brings in us Jesus, transforming us in his fullness. “You will not be misled by this world if, led by me by the hand, you follow at every moment Jesus” (125 s).
A Blessed Good Shepherd Sunday to all!
Yours in the Immaculate Heart,
This reflection is shared with all cenacle and other prayer groups (priests and laity), communities and Marian organizations, associations and movements within and outside of the Philippines, with Our Lady’s words transcribed verbatim for those who do not have copies of the messages. This may also be shared with private individuals for their personal use.
Our Lady's messages are taken from the book: "To the Priests, Our Lady's Beloved Sons", a compilation of 604 messages in the form of locutions given by the Blessed Virgin Mary through Fr. Stefano Gobbi of Italy.
Imprimatur: Bishop Donald W. Montrose, D.D., 1998
Archbishop Francesco Cuccarese, 2007