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The Intimate Shepherd

      The other day I was talking to some of my closest, longest friends. As we were talking we were thinking about how we all met each other and who introduced who to each other, and we began to share what we all first thought of each other when we first met them. This not only made me thankful for these amazing people, but also the different meaningful relationships that we can develop throughout our lives, even in a mere number of years. It also made me realize the miracle that is our friendship and the journey that we have all been on and how no matter what has happened to us, we all have remained friends. A miracle, indeed!

      Each and every one of our lives is filled with many different interactions with friends, family and strangers. Each of these relationships in some shape or form has helped each of grow and become who we are today. Depending on how important each of these relationships is to us, depends on the strength of our commitment and effort that we put into them. But we all have many numerous relationships with a history, a history filled with fun and maybe anger, with long talks, and maybe times of silence, and with intimacy and maybe moments of incompatibility. But each relationship is filled with a history nonetheless. 

      Similarly, each of us is on our own journey, in our own relationship with Jesus- our faith journey. This is a personal journey that involves getting to know him better, loving him more, and trying to form our lives more closely to his. It is a relationship which like any other, is filled with moments of extreme happiness and blessing, but is also filled with confusion, and sometimes anger. It is a relationship that is filled with all forms of emotions, feelings and ultimately graces from God.

      Today, the fourth Sunday of Easter, is celebrated as the Good Shepherd Sunday. It comes from today’s Gospel where Jesus acclaims, “I am the good shepherd.” In this beautiful acclamation Jesus describes how intimate this is: that he is the shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep, that he knows his sheep and they know him and that he will bring all sheep together to create one fold with one shepherd. This is an acclamation of the intimacy in the relationship with Christ.

Christ The Good Shepherd is calling you to follow him.
 He is calling you by name and wants you to trust in the path he takes you

      He is the Shepherd that guides his flock along the right path, the shepherd that brings the wanders back, and the one who calls our name searching for us. He is the shepherd that brings us to the green pastures, and the Shepherd that protects us from the wolves around us. He is the Shepherd that lays down his life for us- how personal our God is! Only a God that truly loves his flock, loves his people would lay his life down (and take it up again) so that his flock may have life. This is an intimate Shepherd. A Shepherd that truly cares for his sheep, and one that does not run when evil comes, but rather wipes away all stain of evil.

      This is the shepherd that knows you personally. He knows me personally. He knows us all personally. He cares for us as if we were the only child he did take care of. Our God is a personal God, who wants a personal faith alive and active in each of his children. This faith, is the same faith that all the saints, and our departed brothers and sisters shared in, and that we are called into. Our God, is a God who wants us to turn to him so that we may fully partake in this intimate relationship. For God knows us for exactly who we are- He knows our hearts of hearts completely! Can you get any more intimate than this?

      Our faith journey is the journey of bringing our hearts closer and closer to Gods. We are guided in this journey through Christ, the Shepherd who guides us to God, and is the way forward. Through transforming our hearts more and more like Gods, it requires us to totally and faithfully trust in God and allows ourselves to be open to the great things this personal relationship can bring. 

      As we journey on our faith Journey we have the passion and resurrection of Christ, to bring us even closer to the heart of God. For in the Paschal Mystery we see Gods Love fully alive for everyone to experience. A relationship with God is not meant for a select elite perfect few, but rather it is a humble call for everyone from the loving, intimate, personal God! God is sending a personal call to you to follow him, in his footsteps, along his path. Will you accept this path in everything you do? Even among the toughest days we are called to follow that path, even when the other path looks so much more desirable. 

      We pray on a regular basis, "Thy Will be Done..." in the Our Father. This is an acknowledgement of the intimacy we share with God in that we have allowed God to take control. This shows that we trust God so much, and know him so intimately that we are able to say, " thy will be done." We all him to bring about his will through and for us.

      Our God is so intimate to us, that he is our shepherd and that he carries out the roles of the shepherd with the greatest amount of pure, authentic love. May we come today, and from now on, to grow in our relationship with God and allow Gods great love to transform our hearts. May we bring our hearts closer to Gods every single day. May we make God our best friend, our Good Shepherd.

Happy Easter!

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