December 3, 2022 –
St. Francis Xavier
… they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.
This morning’s Gospel Reading bears imagery that foreshadows Lent, the Sacred Triduum, and Eastertide. Catholics instinctually understand that Advent prepares Christians for Christmastide, and that Lent prepares them for Eastertide. Less understood is that Advent and Christmastide, considered as a single block of time, prepares Christians for Lent and Eastertide.
The evangelist tells us that the crowds were “like sheep without a shepherd”. Jesus, of course, is the Good Shepherd [see John 10:11,14]. His noblest act of shepherding took place on Calvary, when He sacrificed His life for His flock.
Jesus’ vocation of Self-sacrifice on Calvary is the chief reason why God the Father sent His Only-Begotten to earth. It’s important not to lose sight of this during Advent and Christmastide. God the Father sent His Son to be both shepherd and sheep. Indeed, He shepherds us by becoming one of the sheep: by being born as one of us, so that on the Cross He could offer to the Father the sacred humanity He received from the Blessed Virgin Mary.