Fourth Sunday of Easter, April 25
May Each of Us Come to Recognize the Voice of the Good Shepherd in Our Daily Lives, for Jesus Truly Is Our Only Bridge, Our Only Connection to Our Most Loving Father in Heaven.
We hear in today’s Gospel, “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.”
It was some time ago when my wife and I stood outside an abortion clinic in a nearby community praying the Rosary. We could see the faces of so many young women who were going inside, presumably, to have the lives of their babies within their wombs terminated.
On many of these faces, there were expressions of confusion or bewilderment when they saw the group of us praying for an end to the atrocities of abortion and that the hearts of these dear mothers would be opened to God’s Love in their lives. It was like these women were wandering from car to clinic, like sheep without a shepherd, for they were unable to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd calling out to them.
It is this voice, “the stone which the builders rejected”, which leads us, supports us, saves us and raises us up. It is this “cornerstone” which we find as the common thread weaving itself throughout today’s Readings, quenching our thirst and hunger for God’s Truth – the “cornerstone” which gives us hope and through which we receive salvation.
Jesus is that Hope for which each of us yearns in this life. And, as Peter tells us in our First Reading, “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
What a wondrous faith with which you and I have been gifted! – a faith which speaks to our hearts of love, peace, mercy and forgiveness.
How many of us have taken the time to truly think about this faith in which we all share, and in a God who loves us so much that He was willing to send us His Only-Begotten Son to teach us and to die for us – so that we may be guided, so that we may be shepherded throughout this life, on this side of the eternal, and so that we may be offered the opportunity of becoming co-heirs and spending our eternity with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom!?
What an awesome God we have! What an awesome faith we live!
And yet, we live in a world which is so sadly misguided, in a world which is so seduced with moral and secular relativism – a world which wishes to remake God in its image. Is it any wonder that there is so much chaos?
Is it any wonder that the very concept of peace between nations and peoples is almost non-existent? Is it any wonder that a culture of immorality and death is at the doorstep, if not at the very heart of many of our world’s societies and governments?
Sadly, every generation seems to fulfill John’s words in our Second Reading, “The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” It is as though many people wander blindly throughout this life – this valley of tears – without ever hearing or recognizing the voice of their Shepherd calling out to them, a loving voice which is inviting them to enter the Gateway and become members of His fold, His flock.
And yet, in spite of this, John tells us, “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.”
And, as children of God, as sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father, we have a Good Shepherd who loves and cares for us so completely, a love which is beyond human description that He was willing to lay down His very life for His sheep!
As you and I walk through this life with its many ups and downs, and with the many “curved pitches” which are sometimes thrown our way, to whom do we always turn for help? To whom do we always reach out in times of need or in times of sorrow?
Even from a very young age, our faith teaches us that we have a God who loves us beyond all human imagining, that we have a God who, in the Person of Jesus Christ, left the awesome wonder of His Divine Throne so that He may “lay down [his] life” for our salvation.
A few short weeks ago, we just lived through the Paschal Mystery of our Lord – His suffering, death and resurrection. For many of us who spent time meditating upon the sufferings which He endured, we found ourselves filled with a great sorrow.
And yet, this sorrow gave way to an even greater joy – a hope which fills each one of us with anticipation for ourselves and for our loved ones – that prayerfully we, too, shall one day share in the glory which is Christ’s, the wonder and glory of our own resurrection to eternal life!
And it is this hope which reminds us of our Lord’s own promise, a promise that He will seek out those who are lost and guide them back into the fold. It is this Good Shepherd who IS our Gateway, the means by which we are fed God’s Truth, and the Door through which we shall attain eternal happiness.
It is this Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who is our Way, our Truth and our Life. Even our psalmist today, who did not know Jesus, was Divinely inspired to write about God as our Savior, words which we find in our Responsorial Psalm – “I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have been my savior.”
And Peter himself attests to the fact that Jesus is our only Way, for He is our only Bridge, our only connection to our Most Loving Father in Heaven. And out of His unfathomable Love for each of His children, He calls out to us, inviting each of us by name to share in His happiness. For those of us who hear His voice and respond to His call, then we become “one flock, one shepherd.”
On this Fourth Sunday of Easter, also known as Good Shepherd Sunday, may we come to open the ears of our hearts and souls to the voice of the Eternal Word made flesh. May each of us come to recognize the sound of the Good Shepherd’s voice in our own lives, as you and I continue to walk daily through this vale of tears.
As Jesus speaks to each and every one of us today, “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me” – may each of us take the time to hear His voice and answer His call – for His invitation to both you and me is to be eternally happy with Him in His Kingdom forever.
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” (John 10:14-15)
- “Jesus said to [Thomas], ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)
- “He is ‘the stone…which has become the cornerstone.’ There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12 ~ Psalm 118:22)
- “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.” (John 10:9ab)
- “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name.” (Psalm 23:1-3)
- “As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God.” (Psalm 42:2-3a)
- “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.” (1 John 3:1)
- “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” (Matthew 18:12b-14)
- “This is the LORD’s own gate, through it the righteous enter. I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior.” (Psalm 118:20-21)
- “…they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16c)
Prayer for the Day
“God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,Alternate Prayer for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (Roman Breviary)
though Your people walk in the valley of darkness,
no evil should they fear;
for they follow in faith the call of the Shepherd
whom You have sent for their hope and strength.
“Attune our minds to the sound of His voice,
lead our steps in the path He has shown,
that we may know the strength of His outstretched arms
and enjoy the Light of Your Presence forever.
“We ask this in the Name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.”