FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Gospel: (John 10:27-30)
Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
In many parishes, this is called “Good Shepherd Sunday” where we reflect on Jesus’ care and assurance as we listen to the words “No one can take them out of my hand.” We are called to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow him. We follow first by listening. Hearing Jesus—heeding his voice—is already an act of following. This is a good Sunday to bask in Jesus’ care and protection, listen to his voice calling us to his loving, embracing hands, and rejoice in the goodness showered upon us who are faithful to his call. (Living Liturgy, p.120)
It is not so much what sheep do, nor even what the shepherd does, that the key to understanding the message of Jesus is to be found. It is rather on the quality of the shepherd that we must center our attention: on his heart and mind rather than on his functions. Think of the occasions when our Lord spoke of the shepherd. The shepherd is one who protects; one who searchers; one who speaks and calls the sheep by name. The image was a favorite one of our Lord, because it conveyed to His hearers the idea of one who cares and who does not take flight when danger threatens. The shepherd protects, searches and speaks. This is what Jesus did. Given St. Vincent’s sensitivity to fulfilling the will of God in the smallest details of his life, he might well ask us: Do you consistently search out the Will of God, not only in the crisis points of your life, but day by day and hour by hour do you listen to hear his voice? (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 731)
"When I was hungry, you gave me something to eat, and when I was thirsty, you gave me something to drink. When I was a stranger , you welcomed me, and when I was naked, you gave me clothes to wear. When I was sick, you took care of me, and when I was in jail, you visited me." Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?" The king will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me."
"Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who are weeping now, for you shall laugh. Blessed shall you be when men will have hated you, and when they have separated you and reproached you, and thrown out your name as if evil, because of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and exult, For behold, your reward is great in heaven."