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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Fourth Sunday of Easter

1st Reading (Acts 4:8-12): Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said: «Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, 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».
Responsorial Psalm: 117
R/. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endures forever. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have been my savior. The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord. I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me and have been my savior. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his kindness endures forever.
2nd Reading (1Jn 3:1-2): See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 10:14): Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Jn 10,11-18): Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. 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.

I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

“I am the good shepherd”

Mons. José Ángel SAIZ Meneses, Archbishop of Seville (Sevilla, Spain)

Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. In the first place, the attitude of the sheep must be to listen to the voice of the shepherd and follow Him. Listen carefully, be docile to His word, follow Him with a decision that commits all of existence: the understanding, the heart, all the forces and all the action, following in His footsteps.

For His part, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows His sheep and gives them eternal life, in such a way that they will never be lost and, furthermore, no one will take them out of His hand. Christ is the true Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep (Jn 10:11), for us, sacrificing Himself on the cross. He knows his sheep and His sheep know Him, as the Father knows Him and He knows the Father. It is not a superficial and external knowledge, nor just an intellectual knowledge; it is about a deep personal relationship, an integral knowledge of the heart, which ends up becoming friendship, because this is the logical consequence of the relationship between the one who loves and the one who is loved; in whom he knows he can fully trust.

It is God the Father who has entrusted Him with the care of His sheep. Everything is the fruit of the love of God the Father given to His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfills the mission entrusted to Him by His Father, which is the care of His sheep, with a fidelity that will not allow anyone to snatch them out of His hand, with a love that leads Him to give His life for them, in communion with the Father because "The Father and I are one." (Jn 10:30).

This is precisely where the source of our hope lies: in Christ the Good Shepherd whom we want to follow and whose voice we listen to because we know that only in Him is eternal life found. Here we find strength in the face of life's difficulties, we, who are a weak herd and who are subjected to various tribulations.

«I am the good shepherd»

+ Fr. Josep VALL i Mundó (Barcelona, Spain)

Today, Jesus tells us: «I am the good shepherd» (Jn 10:11). St. Thomas Aquinas, commenting on this assertion, writes that «it is evident the title of “good shepherd” suits Christ for, as the shepherd feeds the flock in the pasture, so Christ feeds the faithful with a spiritual food: his own body and blood». It all started with the Incarnation and Jesus, throughout his earthly life, fully accomplished it to its end through his redeeming death in the Cross and his resurrection. After it, He entrusted the shepherding of the people of God to Peter, to the Apostles and to the Church, till the end of time.

Through his shepherds, Christ teaches his Word, He gives out his grace with the Sacraments and leads the flock towards the Kingdom: He gives himself as food in the Sacrament of the Eucharist; He imparts the Word of God and his Magistery, and solicitously guides his People. Jesus provides his Church with shepherds who can follow His heart, that is, men who, symbolising Jesus through the sacrament of Holy Orders, are willing to give their life for their sheep, with pastoral charity, with a humble spirit of service, and with clemency, patience and fortitude. St. Augustine frequently spoke of this engaging responsibility of the shepherd: «To be honoured as a shepherd worries me (...) what I am for you terrifies me, what I am with you consoles me. For you I am a bishop, with you I am a Christian».

And each one of us, Christians, we work by helping these shepherds, praying for them, loving them and obeying them. We are also shepherds for our brothers, providing them with the grace and the doctrine we have received, sharing their concern and joy, and helping everybody with all our heart. We devote ourselves to those around us whether in our family, or in our social and professional world, quite willing to offer our life for them all with the same spirit of Christ, who came to this world «not for other people to serve him. The Son of Man came to serve other people» (Mt 20:28).