"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." John 6:68


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Third Sunday of Lent
Commentary of the day
Asterius of Amasea (?-c.410), Bishop
Homily no.13, on conversion ; PG 40, 356-357,361 (trans. breviary 1st Thursday of Lent rev.)

Imitating God's patience

If you want to live up to the standard set by God, you must imitate his example in whose likeness you are made. You are Christians and that very name means that “friend of man” (cf. Wsd 1,6). You must imitate the charity and love of Christ. Meditate carefully on the richness of Christ's charity...  Look at how he received those who listened to his voice. He gave them a ready pardon for their sins and in a moment he quickly freed them from those who troubled them...  Let us be shepherds after the style of our Lord...

Sketched out in the gospel in parables and hidden sayings, I find a man who is shepherd of a hundred sheep (Lk 15,4). When one of them left the flock and wandered off the shepherd did not stay with those who stayed grazing in the flock without wandering. On the contrary, he went off to search for the single stray. He followed it through countless valleys and ravines, climbed many difficult mountains, searched with great trouble in lonely places, until he found it. When he had found the lost sheep, far from beating it or driving it to return to the flock, he laid it on his shoulders and gently carried it back and returned it to its fellows. The Good Shepherd rejoiced more over this one that was found, than over all the others.

Let us think over the hidden meaning of this parable... The whole story has a sacred meaning and it warns us not to think of any man as lost or beyond hope. We must not easily despair of those who are in danger or be slow to help them. If they stray from the path of virtue, we should lead them back and rejoice in their return and make it easy for them to rejoin the community of those who lead good and holy lives.

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