Psalm 23.
In one of the most famous Psalms of all times David sings about God’s loving care for him, comparing God to a shepherd who finds the best grass for his sheep, who leads them through dark mountain valleys and protects them against vicious attacks. In the presence of this God David feels safe and secure.

Acts 2.42-47.
There is a strong sense of community within the new people of God after Pentecost. They care for each other, selling possessions to help each other, as they have found that love is more important than material goods. It is that love between the followers of Jesus that attracts countless other people.

John 10.1-10.
In this passage Jesus makes himself known as the good Shepherd of his people. He knows us all by name and we follow him because we recognize his voice. He is also the gate for the sheep, protecting them against thieves and bandits. He has come for us, that we might have life in abundance.

POINTS FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION, BASED ON THE READINGS:

- There is no question about what we see as our own dark valley today. We do not know when we will see light at the end of the tunnel again. St. John of the Cross, a famous Christian mystic, tells us to endure the darkness with patience and trust; then this time will be a time of transformation, in which our souls will find a new and deeper life.

- It seems to me that the impossibility of being together can strengthen our sense of community. We can still show love in deeds of kindness and support – maybe sharing your last bag of flour with somebody else! It is that love that the world so desperately needs. When we come to realize how deeply we are loved and cared for, we will be healed of our fears.

- Jesus has come to give us life in abundance: green pastures, still waters, a cup that is filled to the brim. He gives us his own, indestructible life. The valley is still dark and dreary, and life looks grim for many of us. Let us pray that God will open our hearts, to know this abundant life in which we lack nothing.
Scripture meditations