Vol: 44, No.29 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER ( A) May 07 2017  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is called Good Shepherd Sunday because it recalls various aspects of Jesus’ life as the Good Shepherd of his flock, the Church. Today’s readings present to us three aspects of a Good Shepherd who shepherds the goodness of his flock by feeding them, by laying down his life for them and by giving them life in abundance.
a) The Good Shepherd feeds his sheep with good pasture and leads them to still waters: In the First Reading (Acts 2:14a,36-41) we hear the preaching of St Peter, the shepherd of the Early Christian community, appointed by Jesus himself. He first feeds his listeners with the word of God which in turn creates in them the desire to change. He instructs his catechumens and leads them to the waters of Baptism. Three thousand people are baptized after Peter’s spirit-filled preaching. There is a lot of goodness in the people. One has to encourage this goodness by timely instructions and guidance as well as leading people to the still waters of silence where the deepest longing and thirst of a person is quenched.
b) The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep: Once again we have Peter in the Second Reading (1 Pet 2:20b-25) instructing his community about the sacrifice of Jesus, their shepherd and protector. The Petrine community seems to have been going through persecution. Peter sets before them the example of the chief

 

Shepherd Jesus, who did not sin while he was suffering. He tells them, “If you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval.” When we want to shepherd the goodness in others we should be ready to sacrifice our own selfish agenda. Such kind of laying down one’s life bears much fruit in the long run. This is the martyrdom of love which is at the heart of the passion death and resurrection of the Good Shepherd Jesus.
c) The Good Shepherd gives his sheep life in abundance: In the Gospel (Jn 10:1-10) Jesus compares and contrasts himself with committed shepherds and false shepherds. The false shepherds are compared with strangers from whom the sheep will run away. They are compared with thieves who come to steal, kill and destroy. The Good Shepherd in contrast, leads his sheep, calls them by name, feeds them, protects them and thus gives them life in abundance. In order to shepherd the goodness in others one has to speak words which give life, do acts of mercy and compassion which will comfort and imbue the ideology that will always inspire and motivate people to live life to its fullness.
In what way the image of the Good Shepherd appeals to me in the context of my relationship with Jesus and with my fellow Christians? In what way can I shepherd the goodness in others through my words and deeds?

– Fr (Dr) Robert B. D’Souza
May 2017 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 4
08 Mon (W) Acts 11:1-18/ Ps 42:2-3; 43:3-4/ Jn 10:11-18 (Alternative Gospel for Year A)
09 Tue (W) Acts 11:19-26/ Ps 87:1-7/ Jn 10:22-30
10 Wed (W) St Damien Joseph of Molokai Acts 12:24–13:5/ Ps 67:2-3, 5-6, 8/ Jn 12:44-50
11 Thu (W) Acts 13:13-25/ Ps 89:2-3, 21-22, 25, 27/ Jn 13:16-20
12 Fri (W) St Nereus and Achilleus & Pancras Acts 13:26-33/ Ps 2:6-11/ Jn 14:1-6
13 Sat (W) Our Lady of Fatima Acts 13:44-52/ Ps 98:1-4/ Jn 14:7-14
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