Pope at Regina Coeli: Jesus the Good Shepherd awaits us with open arms

At the Regina Coeli on Good Shepherd Sunday, Pope Francis reminds us that Jesus loves us without limit, giving His life for us. He prays that we may go meet the Lord and allow ourselves "to be welcomed and lifted up by the loving arms of our Good Shepherd."

Apr 22, 2024

By Thaddeus Jones
Greeting the crowds in Saint Peter's Square for the midday Regina Coeli, Pope Francis reflected on the Gospel reading for this Fourth Sunday of Easter dedicated to Jesus the Good Shepherd. The Lord repeats three times that "the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep," the Pope observed, underscoring that He loves each and every one of us without limit and sacrificed his life for us.

A shepherd during Christ's time required spending entire days and nights caring for the sheep, not just a few hours a day, the Pope explained. And the good shepherd knows each one of his sheep, looking out for them, searching for them if they are lost, ensuring their safety and needs are met by living in symbiosis with them.

Jesus not only shares the life of the flock, knowing each person by name, searching for us when we go astray until He finds us, but is "the Good Shepherd who has sacrificed His life for us and has given us His Spirit through His resurrection," the Pope continued.

Love without limit
The image of the Good Shepherd then shows us how the Lord is not only our guide, the Head of the flock, but how above all He "thinks of each of us as the love of His life," the Pope underscored, as the Lord sees each of us as "important, irreplaceable, worth the infinite price of His life." And this is not just a way of speaking, the Pope said, the Lord "truly gave His life for me, He died and rose again for me, because He loves me and He finds in me a beauty that I often do not see myself."

Inestimable worth
Many people see themselves as inadequate or wrong, basing their value on what they achieve, how the world sees them, or the judgements of others, the Pope observed. But Jesus tells us we are worth so much to Him and always, the Pope underscored. So to truly find ourselves and happiness, we must seek to be in the Lord's presence, "allowing ourselves to be welcomed and lifted up by the loving arms of our Good Shepherd."

Rediscovering life's secret
The Pope then recommended we examine our own lives and consider whether we really accept the assurance of the Lord's boundless love that gives value and meaning to our lives. And this can be done through moments of prayer, adoration, praise, striving to remember and be in the Lord's loving presence. If we endeavour to do this in our lives, we will rediscover life's secret, the Pope concluded, as "you will remember that He gave His life for you, for me, for all of us. And that for Him, we are all important, each and every one of us"

“May Our Lady help us to find in Jesus what is essential for life.”

World Day of Prayer for Vocations
During the Regina Coeli, Pope Francis also recalled that today we celebrate the Church's World Day of Prayer for Vocations centered on the theme "Called to sow seeds of hope and to build peace."

The Pope recalled how today's celebration offers "a beautiful opportunity to rediscover the Church as a community characterized by an orchestra of charisms and vocations in the service of the Gospel."

He then greeted a group of new priests of the Diocese of Rome ordained at a celebration yesterday afternoon in Saint Peter's Basilica and asked everyone to pray for them.--Vatican News

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