Busca en nuestra biblioteca... (escriba & pulse enter)
Close this search box.

The Sunday of the Good Shepherd

Author: Michael Ertl, SVD
Subject: Joseph Freinademetz
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: VivatDeus.org
Year: 2024
Saint Joseph Freinademetz, Children
Saint Joseph Freinademetz and Children

The Gospel of the Good Shepherd, which will be read in this Sunday’s Eucharist, reminds us of Jesus’ care. All those whom he has called to follow him may experience that he knows them personally and is prepared to give his life for them.

Of the surviving sermons by Saint Joseph Freinademetz, the “Farewell Sermon”, which he preached on 11 August 1878 in St. Martin’s in Thurn, is certainly the most personal. In it, he expresses the motivation that gave him the strength to leave everything behind and follow the invitation of the “divine good shepherd”.

“My dear brothers! Through the infinite mercy of God, who chooses the weak as his instruments, I hope to share in a grace of which I am eternally unworthy. The divine Good Shepherd, in his unfathomable goodness, has invited me to go out with him into the desert to help him find the lost sheep. So what else can I do but kiss his hand with joy and gratitude and say with the Scriptures: “Behold, I am coming!”

For him, the “lost sheep” were all those who had not yet heard from God and to whom he wanted to proclaim the liberating message of the Gospel. The mission house founded in Steyl a few years earlier offered him the opportunity to take this message to faraway China. When he left Steyl six months later, he told the confreres who had gathered to see him off:

“When I left the mountains of my homeland seven months ago, it was quite painful for me to say goodbye. I have found my second home here in Steyl. But now God is calling me to look for a third home beyond the sea. I want to follow his voice and bid farewell to everything that still binds me to Europe in order to devote my energies to the service of the Most High in faraway Asia.”

Saint Joseph Freinademetz, Children
Saint Joseph Freinademetz and Children

He had never spared his strength in his 29 years as a missionary in China. Far too often he had exerted himself beyond his strength not only to spread the Christian faith, but also to put it on a solid foundation. Time and again, he was particularly concerned about those Christians who, as new converts, had to suffer hostility and persecution. Here he always proved to be the good shepherd who was prepared to lay down his life.

After his death, his bishop, Augustin Henninghaus, wrote in an obituary:

“…strengthening the faith of new Christians, leading religious souls to perfection, that was his life. He believed he had never done enough. Yet his zeal was not a hard zeal, but was completely imbued with a noble kindness and warm-heartedness. The Chinese also knew this. His door was open to everyone and he had at least one good word for everyone …. These days, all the communities in South Shantung are lamenting, and the Chinese New Year, otherwise a day of joy for all Chinese, will still see some of our Christians in deep mourning for the deceased. But what is more important than that: may his teachings and his example be unforgettable, may the seed of God that he sowed, fertilised with sweat and tears, grow into a thousandfold fruit.”


Michael Ertl, SVD
Michael Ertl, SVD

Michael Ertl was born in Germany in 1966. He entered the Congregation of the Divine Word in 1989. After training as a pastoral assistant and professing perpetual vows in St. Gabriel (Vienna), he spent three years in Chile, where he worked in parish and school pastoral. Back in Europe, he spent 14 years in a contemplative community in Belgium and served as novice master in Berlin. From 2018-2022 he was Spiritual Director of the “Centro Ad Gentes” in Nemi. In 2022 he was transferred to ITA and since then he lives in the house of St. Joseph Freinademetz in Oies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up to receive new content in your inbox.
The subscription is a multistep process, so please check your email after you submit the form and follow the instructions.

We promise we’ll never spam! Take a look at our Privacy Policy for more info.

Suscríbase para recibir nuevos contenidos en su bandeja de entrada.
La suscripción es un proceso de varios pasos, así que revise su correo electrónico después de enviar el formulario y siga las instrucciones.

¡Prometemos que nunca haremos spam! Echa un vistazo a nuestra Política de Privacidad para más información.