Let me give a little food for thought before i get back to my work at hand. Did you feel great comfort this weekend while attending Mass? Did you truly embrace the words we heard in the responsorial psalm? Do you believe what we proclaimed? "The Lord Is my shepherd. There is nothing I shall want."
If you are struggling with seeking comfort in the Lord, may I put the last nine weeks of liturgical celebrations into context for you? Why should yesterday's Gospel bring us hope? We can trust in the Lord and His goodness to us. Look at what we have heard and experienced since Ash Wednesday on March 1 through this past weekend.
On Ash Wednesday each year, we hear the first reading from the prophet Joel in which we are encouraged to return to the Lord our God with our whole heart. We are invited to turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel as we recall that we are dust and unto dust we shall return. God wants to be completely united to us. This reminds me of the quiet prayer I offer at each Mass when pouring the drop of water into the wine. "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity." We share in the divine life of Christ. It does not get any better than that.
On the First Sunday of Lent we heard about the temptations of Jesus. Jesus gave us a model for overcoming temptation in our own lives. Furthermore, He gave us an example about being "led by the Spirit." Do we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis?
The Second Sunday of Lent gave us the account of the Transfiguration. We received a glimpse of the glory of God. and were reminded that Jesus did not come to abolish the law and the prophets. He came to fulfill them.
The Third Sunday of Lent brought us the story of the woman at the well. That was one powerful conversion story. Jesus clearly meets us at the point of our need.
The Fourth Sunday of Lent was the healing of the man born blind. When the people exclaimed that this was unheard of, it really was. Jesus demonstrated awesome power as he healed the sick.
We saw it taken to a whole new level on the Fifth Sunday of Lent as Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Jesus has power over death itself.
On Palm Sunday we were ushered into Holy Week as we heard the account of the Lord's passion and death. This is the prelude to Jesus' triumph over death of which we will experience at the Great Easter Vigil.
On Holy Thursday we were reminded of the great gift of the Eucharist. That should fill each Catholic with immense hope.
On Good Friday we commemorated the passion and death of our Lord. We venerated the cross, the instrument of our salvation.
At the Great Easter Vigil, we entered in darkness. Then, the Light of Christ dawned upon us as we celebrated his triumph over the grave.
On the Second Sunday of Easster we celebrated Divine Mercy Sunday. This intentional focus on the mercy of Jesus should bring great comfort and solace to each of us.
On the Third Sunday of Easter we heard about the road to Emmaus. When the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of bread, they were so excited that they turned right around and walked seven miles back to share the good news with others. That is the enthusiasm that can fill each of us as we come to know Jesus more intimately in the breaking of the bread. (Read John's Gospel chapter six  to be renewed in fervor for the Eucharist.)
Finally, this past weekend we heard about Jesus, the Good Shepherd. After everything we have heard and experienced liturgically in the last two months, we should have been ready to embrace the Good Shepherd with our whole heart, mind, soul. and strength--just as we were encouraged to do on Ash Wednesday.
As we continue on with the Easter Season headed toward the magnificent celebration of Pentecost, ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit. May the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion, fellowship, and power of the Holy Spirit be with you always!