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Good Shepherd Sunday, 4th Sunday of Easter

May 3, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass

Liturgical Colour: White.


First reading Acts 2:14,36-41 ©

‘God has made him both Lord and Christ’

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
  Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.

Responsorial Psalm Psalm 22(23) ©
The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
or
Alleluia!
The Lord is my shepherd;
  there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
  where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me,
  to revive my drooping spirit.
The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
or
Alleluia!
He guides me along the right path;
  he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness
  no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff;
  with these you give me comfort.
The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
or
Alleluia!
You have prepared a banquet for me
  in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
  my cup is overflowing.
The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
or
Alleluia!
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
  all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
  for ever and ever.
The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
or
Alleluia!

Second reading 1 Peter 2:20-25 ©

You have come back to the shepherd of your souls

The merit, in the sight of God, is in bearing punishment patiently when you are punished after doing your duty.
  This, in fact, is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow the way he took. He had not done anything wrong, and there had been no perjury in his mouth. He was insulted and did not retaliate with insults; when he was tortured he made no threats but he put his trust in the righteous judge. He was bearing our faults in his own body on the cross, so that we might die to our faults and live for holiness; through his wounds you have been healed. You had gone astray like sheep but now you have come back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Gospel Acclamation Jn10:14
Alleluia, alleluia!
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my own sheep and my own know me.
Alleluia!

Gospel John 10:1-10 ©

I am the gate of the sheepfold

Jesus said:
  ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’
  Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.
  So Jesus spoke to them again:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come
are thieves and brigands;
but the sheep took no notice of them.
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out
and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes
only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come
so that they may have life and have it to the full.’
To: All
Sunday Gospel Reflections4th Sunday of Easter
Reading I: Acts 2:14,36-41 II: 1Peter 2:20-25


Gospel
John 10:1-101 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;
2 but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
6 This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them.
9 I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


Interesting Details

  • In this passage Jesus is the sheepgate, not the good shepherd (that comes later in Jn 10:11-16).
  • So who are the shepherds here? They are the leaders of the Church.
  • Shepherds normally walk behind the sheep and urge them forward, but some shepherds walk ahead and call them with a distinct cry (“they recognize his voice”).
  • In Numbers 27:17 Moses asked God to give the people a leader so that the community would not be like “sheep without a shepherd.”

One Main PointJesus is the sheepgate.

Every family then had a flock of sheep, but extended families keep their flocks together in one pen. A gatekeeper must know everyone in the extended family. The good shepherd leads the flock in and out of this gate.


Reflections

  1. Imagine the state of the pen with Jesus as the sheepgate and his loving, faithful disciples as the good shepherds. What role do I play in the “pen” that is the community?
  2. When I participate in the activities of the Church, do I enter through Jesus and act out of love, or do I steal for my own pride, causing conflicts and hatred?

Whose Voice Am I Listening To?

Pastor’s Column

4th Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2020

“The sheep follow him [Jesus], because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
(from John 10:1-10)

Am I able to hear and recognize the voice of God in my life? Or do I tend to follow the voice of “strangers”? Sometimes there is so much media, noise and distractions in our lives that we cannot hear the Lord. My grandparents who raised me bought one of the very first TV sets in 1950. People came from all over the neighborhood to watch it! It
was a small round picture about a foot wide. Of course, I wish I still had that old set (not to watch, but as a piece of furniture). Just imagine for a moment all the voices and opinions that we have all heard through TV, movies, radio, and now the internet: so many opinions! Who is wise enough to recognize God’s voice amid all of this?

So many today purport to have all the answers, yet in these Coronavirus times that we all are living through together we get conflicting opinions from many quarters as to the best way to handle this as a nation and in the world. Other voices who have no conception that we are created beings or of the reality of God can easily lead us astray.

We are, in fact, loved by God who wishes us to find him, choose him (with faith and how we live) and who offers us eternal life if we but listen to his voice.

While media voices, stars and opinion makers may give conflicting answers, there is one voice, one opinion, one set of life rules and principles that will still be around, still being read until the last day that humans walk the earth, and that is the voice of Jesus Christ.

How can you recognize his voice in this world? He will be the one telling you that how you look isn’t really that important; that money isn’t everything; that what matters is not how popular we are with others but what our Lord’s opinion is of us that counts; that what we give to others is more important than what we get. We will find him in the Bible and in church teaching. When we are kind to someone in any way, it is always Christ. To choose love is to choose Christ, because his voice always encourages us to trust and to love, no matter how tough things may be at the moment.

The voice of the Good Shepherd can be hard to hear over the noise of this world and all its distractions, but it is vital that we listen to it. For that voice will be the only one still speaking on the last day of our lives.

Father Gary


What Are We To Do? Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday in Easter

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The Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd, attributed to Philippe de Champagne, 16th c.

Acts 2:14, 36–41
Psalm 23:1–6
1 Peter 2:20–25
John 10:1–10


Easter’s empty tomb is a call to conversion.

By this tomb, we should know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as Peter preaches in today’s First Reading.

He is the “Lord,” the divine Son that David foresaw at God’s right hand (see Psalms 3; 110:1; 132:10–11; and Acts 2:34). And He is the Messiah that God had promised to shepherd the scattered flock of the house of Israel (see Ezekiel 34:11–14, 23; 37:24).

As we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus is that Good Shepherd, sent to a people who were like sheep without a shepherd (see Mark 6:34; Numbers 27:16–17). He calls not only to the children of Israel, but to all those far off from Him—to whomever the Lord wishes to hear His voice.

The call of the Good Shepherd leads to the restful waters of Baptism, to the anointing oil of Confirmation, and to the table and overflowing cup of the Eucharist, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

Again on this Sunday in Easter, we hear His voice calling us His own. He should awaken in us the response of those who heard Peter’s preaching. “What are we to do?” they cried.

We have been baptized. But each of us goes astray like sheep, as we hear in today’s Epistle. We still need daily to repent, to seek forgiveness of our sins, to separate ourselves further from this corrupt generation.

We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Shepherd of our souls. By His suffering He bore our sins in His body to free us from sin. But His suffering is also an example for us. From Him we should learn patience in our afflictions, to hand ourselves over to the will of God.

Jesus has gone ahead, driven us through the dark valley of evil and death. His Cross has become the narrow gate through which we must pass to reach His empty tomb—the verdant pastures of life abundant.


Our Shepherd Leads Us Through the Narrow Gate

This Sunday’s readings teach us about the care of sheep—they need a gate to protect their sheepfold, a shepherd who will lead them to good pasture, and ears to hear the Voice they should follow.

Gospel (Read Jn 10:1-10)

Today’s reading is best understood within its context in John’s Gospel.  In the previous chapter is the account of Jesus’ healing of the man born blind, a Lenten lectionary reading.  Recall that it was a lesson about spiritual sight and blindness.  The simple blind Jewish man whom Jesus healed was able to see and worship Jesus as the Messiah.  The Pharisees who interrogated him, however, wanted nothing to do with Jesus:  “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from” (Jn 9:29).  If we remember that the Pharisees considered themselves to be the spiritual leaders of Judah, able to instruct the people in the fine points of the Mosaic Law and thus preserve their identity as God’s people, we will comprehend why Jesus begins speaking in John 10 about sheep gates, shepherds, and flocks.  The Pharisees repeatedly acted as blind guides for God’s people, trying to insure a following for themselves.  Jesus is about to expose them.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber” (Jn 10:1).  To make His point about the Pharisees, Jesus uses the well-known imagery of Israel as God’s flock and God Himself as their Shepherd (read Ez 34:11-16).  Everyone willing to hear Jesus that day would have understood this metaphor.  They knew that the sheepfold was where various flocks of sheep spent the night after a day of grazing.  It consisted of a wall, to protect the flock from thieves and predators, as well as a gate.  The gatekeeper would admit the shepherds in the morning as they came to take their flocks back out to pasture.  Each shepherd’s flock responded to his call, because his voice was familiar to them.  It was not a stretch for those listening to Jesus to understand that He was taking about God’s relationship with His people and leaders who had been given charge of them.   They knew the beautiful prophecy from Isaiah:  “He will feed His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arms, He will carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (Isa 40:11).  However, notice the blindness of the Pharisees:  “Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what He was trying to tell them” (Jn 10:6).  So, what was He “trying to tell them”?

In the extended teaching of this chapter (some of which is not included in the Mass reading), Jesus identifies Himself as both the sheep gate and the shepherd of Israel. The Pharisees were trying to lead God’s people without entering the sheepfold through the gate of Jesus. No one can teach and nurture God’s own flock apart from Jesus, because he is the Way, the Truth, the Life. The Pharisees believed the Law of Moses was an end in itself. Why would they need Jesus? The reality was that the Law pointed towards Jesus and was fulfilled in Him. Without Jesus, teachers of Israel robbed the flock , coming only to “steal and slaughter and destroy” (Jn 10:10).

 

Jesus also describes how the sheep recognize the voice of the one who has properly entered the sheepfold and who calls to them in a familiar, trusted way:  “…they do not recognize the voice of strangers” (Jn 10:5).  The sheep know they will find good pasture when they follow their true shepherd, not an impostor:  “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10).

Let us now follow, through all the other readings, this metaphor of sheep hearing their beloved shepherd’s call.  How do they recognize His Voice?

Possible response: Jesus, Good Shepherd, You (and You alone) will lead me into abundant life. I trust in You.

First Reading (Read Acts 2:14a, 36-41)

If we are curious about how God’s flock will hear the Voice of the Good Shepherd, this reading in Acts provides us with an excellent demonstration. We are again on the Day of Pentecost, and Peter addresses the large crowd gathered around the hubbub caused by the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. We can almost hear his raised voice booming out over the buzz: “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:14a). Here we have a “voice” calling out to God’s people (“the whole house of Israel”). Will the sheep recognize the voice? Will they trust the one calling to them? The rest of the story answers our questions.

“Now, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart…and they asked Peter and the other apostles, ‘What are we to do, my brothers?’” (Acts 2:37)  The sheep recognize this as a call from God, delivered by His servant, Peter.  They are convicted of their error in consenting to Jesus’ death.  In deep humility, they seek reconciliation with the Father.  Peter has approached the sheepfold through the gate of Jesus.  He speaks to them on the basis of what Jesus has done, as well as about Jesus Himself.  And it worked! They are ready to listen to the shepherd’s instructions.  They believe he can lead them to safety.

Peter directs them to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38).  In this, they will receive forgiveness of their sins (for which now they are earnestly seeking), as well as the gift of the Holy Spirit (whose dramatic appearance got their attention in the first place).  See how Peter acknowledges that what he announced to the people there that day was actually a call from God (and not just a man speaking):  “For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).  The Voice of the Shepherd is spoken through the human voice of Peter, the one to whom Jesus gave charge of His Church.  How very Catholic!  If we want to hear the Voice of Jesus, we must listen to His Voice in the Church.  No wonder all bishops carry shepherd’s staffs, to this day.

Possible response: Jesus, Good Shepherd, thank You for appointing shepherds to lead Your flock. We are never without our Shepherd’s Voice in the Church.

Psalm (Read Ps 23)

How did the psalmist hear the Voice of the Shepherd? He prayed to Him in grave danger, but with great intimacy: “Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; for You are at my side” (Ps 23:4a). We hear the Shepherd’s Voice when we make the effort to hear it, especially in prayer. This is sometimes harder than it sounds. How easy it is for us, when we find ourselves in calamity, to focus primarily on the details of everything that is going wrong. The psalmist, however, looks for the Shepherd’s staff, talking to Him, and finding courage: “You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps 23:4b). The psalmist has given us words to use as a prayer when we seek to hear the Good Shepherd’s call to us: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”

Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read 1 Pet 2:20b-25)

What does the epistle have to say to us about hearing the Voice of the Good Shepherd? Actually, Peter gives us the most important key: we must acknowledge that we are like sheep, wanting to go astray (1 Pet 2:25). We must be willing to follow in the footsteps (1 Pet 2:21) of the One Who is the “guardian” of our souls (1 Pet 2:25). The most obvious lesson is the one sometimes most difficult to accept: we are sheep who need a Shepherd. We need the humility of the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, but we are so susceptible to the pride of the Pharisees, who wanted to lead instead of follow. If we are humble enough to be led, we will hear our Shepherd’s Voice, and, because we know we can trust Him, we will be willing to follow wherever He leads, even into suffering like His own.

Possible response: Jesus, Good Shepherd, I confess that sometimes I want to stray, trying to lead rather than follow. Please give me grace to walk in Your footsteps, wherever they might take me.


One Bread, One Body

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Sunday, May 3, 2020

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Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 2:14, 36-41
1 Peter 2:20-25
Psalm 23:1-6
John 10:1-10

the greatest event of your life

“You must reform and be baptized.” —Acts 2:38

Peter, on whom “tongues as of fire” had just descended (see Acts 2:3), preached at the first Christian Pentecost. In the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter witnessed for the crucified and risen Christ. Peter invited the thousands of people who heard his message to receive the Holy Spirit by being baptized. “Those who accepted his message were baptized; some three thousand were added that day” (Acts 2:41).

Philip was sent by the Holy Spirit to proclaim Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:29, 35). Then “Philip went down into the water with the eunuch and baptized him” (Acts 8:38).

Peter was sent by the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:19) to the home of the centurion, Cornelius. Peter proclaimed the forgiveness of sins through Jesus, the “Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42). Then “the Holy Spirit descended upon all” (Acts 10:44). “Peter put the question at that point: ‘What can stop these people who have received the Holy Spirit, even as we have, from being baptized with water?’ So he gave orders that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:46-48).

After the Lord freed Paul from prison through an earthquake, Paul and Silas prevented the Philippian jailer from committing suicide. Then they went to the jailer’s home and “proceeded to announce the word of God to him and to everyone in his house. At that late hour of the night he took them in and…then he and his whole household were baptized” (Acts 16:32, 33).

We began the Easter season by renewing our baptismal promises. What difference has that renewal made in our lives? Baptism is the most important event of our lives. It is our entry in the life of Jesus. Live your Baptism fully.

Prayer:  Father, may I live the “radical newness” of my Baptism (Lay Members of Christ’s Faithful People, Pope St. John Paul II, 10).

Promise:  “I came that they might have life.” —Jn 10:10

Praise:  “He has been raised, exactly as He promised” (Mt 28:6).

30 posted on 5/3/2020, 10:47:21 PM by Salvation (“With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26)

To: All

Details

Date:
May 3, 2020
Time:
8:00 am - 5:00 pm