“I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.”
Jesus tells us that there is a mutual knowledge between Himself and His flock. They know each other. In Latin, ‘to know’ is cognoscere. The etymology of the word is ‘cum nascere’, which means ‘to be born with’. If we know Jesus Christ, we can say that we are born with Him, which is especially true through the Sacrament of Baptism. Saint Paul says that we are baptized in the death of Jesus-Christ. “We have been planted together in the likeness of his death, and we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.”
To know, in the Bible, means more than a simple intellectual knowledge. It involves a deep intimacy and a close relationship. The book of Genesis tells us that “Adam knew his wife” The intimate act of the spouses is an image of the union between God and men. As Adam knew his wife, Jesus knows us and this knowledge is also love.
Here you would say that knowledge is not love. The first one is an act of our intellect while the second one, an act of our will. You are right and with Pascal we say that there is a huge distance between knowing God and loving Him.
But now, let us consider God. For God, to be, to love and to know are the same thing. God knows us. He loves us. It is the same thing. His love is shown in a wonderful manner through the Incarnation and the Passion. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd who gives his life for his flock. Now, if we are truly born with Jesus, knowing Him should mean loving Him. We cannot imagine a Christian life without the love of God, because it is absolutely impossible. To be baptized is absolutely necessary, even for babies, no matter what the theologians of the Vatican say, but baptism is just the beginning. It is the beginning of a life of love for God.
Being faithful to the promises of our Baptism, which we renewed two weeks ago during the Easter Vigil, is not easy. We are assailed by the temptations of the world and of the evil spirits. We are tempted to make compromise with the world in things regarding moral or faith. The world, with its slogan and its sophisms tries to make us think as itself, so that, little by little, we forget the true teaching of the Christ. The fact is that after a few decades of laxity in the preaching of the authentic Catholic Faith, the flock of Jesus Christ has considerably decreased. Many Catholic believe today in doctrines incompatible with the Faith and the Morale. Oh, they might be members of the Church because of their Baptism, but they are not the sheep of Jesus who listen to His voice. They do not know Him. They do not love Him even though they claim the contrary. How can you say that you love God if you despise His Authority and His teaching? Those who love God keep the word of Jesus. Those who love Him are the sheep who recognize His voice in the midst of the noise of the world.
And we, who have the grace to know Him, are we truly His sheep? Do we listen to Him? Do we keep His words, especially those regarding the commandment of Charity? It is easy to estimate that we, ourselves, are better than the others because we know the true Faith, but our confessionals are full every Sunday, thanks be to God! But that means that by ourselves we are no better than the enemies of Jesus and of the Church. We should be more grateful for what we have received and be able to humble ourselves instead of always judging and criticizing, complaining, mourning and murmuring. If you want to mourn, that’s fine, but mourn for your own sins.
And again, be grateful! God is good and loves us. We forget this truth so often. Jesus Christ is the good shepherd who gives His life for us, for me. What can I do for Him. Saint Therese of Lisieux says that “There is only one thing to do here below: to love Jesus, to win souls for Him so that He may be loved. Let us seize with jealous care every least opportunity of self sacrifice. Let us refuse Him nothing - He does so want our love!”
Let us turn to Our Mary and ask her to teach us the love of Jesus. Let us learn from her how to listen to Him.
“I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.” Do we really know Him?