4th Sunday of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 13:14, 43–52
Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats. Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God. On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.” The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them, and went to Iconium. The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
2nd Reading: Revelation 7:9, 14b–17
I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
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.”
BEING A GOOD SHEPHERD: Human beings are expected to be shepherds to one another. In other words, we are called to take care of one another. The witness of being a shepherd to the other person comes when that person accepts to be guided towards the Risen Lord. It makes the shepherd happy because his or her mission to bring people towards God is being fulfilled. Shepherd-hood becomes sour when the shepherd is rejected, when the flock does not want to follow his or her instructions. At times shepherd-hood becomes very sour when the flock dares to attack the shepherd physically or when the potential flock refuses to accept the shepherd and expels him or her from their territory (Acts 13: 50). What happened to the Apostles as shepherds at their time still happens today. In some places the bearers of the Good News were welcomed very well. At other places they were rejected. But whether they experienced sweetness or sourness in their ministry as shepherds, they still loved their apostolate. They continued with their ministry of bringing into the flock the “sheep” which were not in the fold. Christians, and in a very special way, the members of the clergy, are shepherds. It would be a good act if prayers are said for all Christians and especially for the clergy to follow the example of the Apostles of not giving-up the apostolate.
Prayer: Lord Protect all who shepherd your people.
I WILL PERSONALLY CARE FOR YOU: After the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, the Word of God gives us hints to know where and how the Risen Jesus is present in the community and the world. The Readings of the previous weeks pointed out that He is present when the community is united; He leaves the gift of forgiveness and transform us into a community of reconciliation; Jesus is only discovered with eyes of love; hence, when we look at life and others with love so that we can see him. On this Sunday, Jesus reminds us that he is leading our lives as a shepherd cares for his sheep. Allow yourself to be guided by him; Believe it, you are not journeying in life alone, since He is personally shepherding you. He is by your side. In answer to his caring love, carry others on your shoulders. By caring for your neighbour, you make visible the good shepherd.