A Reflection on Today’s Sacred Scriptures: Good Shepherd Sunday

About Today for Sunday in the 4th week of Easter

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5
Revelation 7:9, 14b-17
John 10:27-30

Today is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. A reflection on today’s Sacred Scriptures:

The Gospel this Sunday in all three reading cycles is about Jesus as the Good Shepherd. This year the emphasis is on the voice of Jesus.

We can imagine how that voice must have stirred the hearts of all who were disposed to listen to it, how it must have moved people with its authority and its power to persuade. The voice of Jesus was at times so loving, and at other times so challenging. It was that voice saying to Peter, “Feed my sheep,” that still rang in his ears as he preached boldly to the Sanhedrin. It was that voice crying out, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” that echoed still in the heart of Paul as he and Barnabas preached in the synagogues of Perga and Antioch and Iconium. It was the voice of Jesus which drowned out the vicious lies of all those enemies of truth that tried to choke off the Good News so bravely proclaimed by Peter and Paul.

The readings during the Easter season clearly show us how gladly those great Apostles suffered persecution and even death “for the sake of the Name.” No wonder we call Peter and Paul the great pillars of the early Church who inspired so many others not to fear contempt and bodily harm because the Holy Spirit was with them. Those who followed that voice would be rewarded with a glorious crown.

It’s no wonder that literally millions of Christians have suffered for their faith down through the ages. Millions even today are deprived of human rights, imprisoned and killed just because they are loyal to that voice of the Good Shepherd. Racial hatred, abuse of women, child slavery, and exploitation of the poor, to name but a few, are the effects of strident, angry and evil voices which constantly try to drown out the loving voice of the Good Shepherd who proclaims justice for the oppressed.

In Jesus’ lifetime on earth as preacher and healer, He was known for His compassion and love. Shortly before His Passion and death, He stopped on His way to Jerusalem to weep over the city, crying out, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!” (Luke 13:34-35)

Jesus is best known, however, as a shepherd, leading His flock to eternal life. He called Himself the door, the gate, the sheepfold itself. The shepherd knows each individual sheep by name, and each one of His flock are safe when they follow His call. Today’s Gospel emphasizes this aspect of a shepherd–his voice. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they never perish.” (John 10:27-28)

Many in our world are now fascinated by another voice, that of Pope Francis, who urges us to bring the power of our love and concern to the poor, the persecuted, and the powerless of this world. When we hear his voice, we recognize the authentic voice of Jesus Himself. May we heed his voice especially in the months ahead. [1]

[1] Catholic Calendar and Daily Meditations, Fourth Sunday of Easter

The English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) ©1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved. Used with permission by Surgeworks, Inc for the Divine Office Catholic Ministry. DivineOffice.org website, podcast, apps and all related media is © 2006-2017 Surgeworks, Inc. All rights reserved.
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