On this Good Shepherd Sunday, Pope Francis underlines the importance of being able to distinguish the voices of good and evil.
On this the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Pope Francis delved into the Gospel of the day which is dedicated to Jesus the Good Shepherd.
Speaking during the Regina Coeli, the Pope recalled that the reading says that, “the sheep hear His voice, as He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (Jn 10: 3).
Pope emphasised that “The Lord calls us by name, He calls us because He loves us. But, the Gospel then tells us, there are other voices, not to be followed: those of strangers, thieves and brigands who want to harm to the sheep.”
Voices of good and evil
“These different voices resonate within us,” said the Pope. “There is God’s voice, which speaks kindly to the conscience, and there is the tempting voice that leads to evil.”
Pope Francis underlined the importance of be able to distinguish “God’s inspiration from the insinuation of the evil one.”
He pointed out that “one can learn to discern these two voices. They speak two different languages, that is, they have opposite ways of knocking on the door of our hearts.”
“God’s voice never forces us: God proposes Himself, He does not impose Himself. Instead, the evil voice seduces, assails, forces: it arouses dazzling illusions, emotions that are tempting, but transient,” the Pope said.
He noted that, the voice of the enemy distracts us from the present and wants us to focus on fears of the future or sadness about the past.
The voice of true peace
The Pope continued by saying that “God’s voice, instead, never promises cheap joy. It invites us to go beyond our ego to find that true good, peace.”
In the end, emphasised Pope Francis, “God’s voice and the tempter’s speak in different “surroundings.” The enemy prefers darkness, falsehood, and gossip; the Lord loves sunlight, truth, and sincere transparency.”
Before the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the Pope invited the faithful to ask for the grace to recognise and follow the voice of the Good Shepherd “who brings us out of the enclosures of selfishness and leads us to the pastures of true freedom.”
Courage to respond to God’s call
During the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis highlighted that May 3 marks World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
He commented that this Day reminds us of what Jesus said, “that the field of the Kingdom of God requires much work, and we must pray to the Father to send labourers to work in His field.”
The Pope noted that “Christian existence is always a response to God’s call, in any state of life.”
He also stressed that “priesthood and the consecrated life require courage and perseverance; and without prayer one cannot continue along this path.”
“I invite everyone” said Pope Francis, “to ask the Lord for the gift of good labourers for His Kingdom, with hearts and hands open to His love.”
Closeness during pandemic
During his words following the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the Pope again expressed his closeness those who are suffering from COVID-19, and to those caring for people stricken by the virus at this time.
Pope Francis also expressed his support for an international collaboration that is taking place with various initiatives to respond adequately and effectively to this serious crisis.
It is important, he said, “to bring together scientific capacities, in a transparent and impartial way, to find vaccines and treatments and to guarantee universal access to essential technologies that will enable every infected person, in every part of the world, to receive the necessary health care.”
Underlining the importance of prayer at this difficult time, the Pope said he had accepted a proposal of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity that on this coming 14 May, “believers of all religions should unite spiritually for a day of prayer and fasting, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic.”
Concluding the Regina Coeli, the Pope addressed a special thought to the Italian based Association “Meter,” which is promoting a National Day for children who are victims of violence, exploitation and indifference.
He also remembered Our Lady in this Marian month of May, and encouraged the faithful to spiritually visit Shrines dedicated to Mary during this health emergency.
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