Sunday 30 April 2023 – 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER – Shepherding the Flock

1st Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”  Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.           

2nd Reading: 1P 2:20b-25

Beloved: If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, So, that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. 

Gospel: Jn 10:1-10    

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.  So, Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came So, that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”  

Shepherding the Flock: The 4th Sunday of Easter is also known as the Good Shepherd Sunday. The gospel reading invites us to reflect on Jesus as the Good Shepherd. A shepherd is a person who tends and rears sheep. A Good Shepherd is a shepherd who knows his sheep well. He is a shepherd who develops a close intimate relationship with the sheep. He is one who loves his sheep. His primary responsibility is the safety and welfare of his flock. The Israelites understood God as their shepherd, and themselves as his flock. He is the one who leads his flock to green pastures near refreshing waters, as Psalm 23 tells us. The image of a Good Shepherd then is that of a kind, loving, patient, strong and self-sacrificing leader. Jesus is referred to as the Good Shepherd because he fits into the image of a Good Shepherd very well. There is a personal relationship between Jesus and his flock (followers). He is the Good Shepherd because of his perfect example of a shepherd’s duty in watchfulness, care and the love for the flock. But Jesus is more than any Good Shepherd because he actually laid down his life willingly for his flock. All people, be it in the family or in the church are expected to be shepherds in the imitation of Jesus. Whatever all one has to play in the society one must carry it out in the imitation of Jesus the Good Shepherd.

Prayer: May all people imitate your son when serving others Lord. Amen


A SHEPHERD WHO DOES NOT EAT MUTTON: A good shepherd cherishes in the increase of his flock. This only happens when he takes good care of his very own, feeding and protecting them from the enemy. A shepherd who only cherishes meat, sends away his flock that constantly smells blood. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He takes care of his flock. He knows them and they know him. He does not “eat” them, therefore his flock is happy and secure in his presence (Jn. 10:1-10). The apostles, following the example of the Lord Jesus, the Good Shepherd, took good care of the early church and many people became Christians on account of their work. They were “shepherds” who did not “cherish mutton.” Let us pray for our clergy today, so that none will ever cherish “eating mutton.” So that by their good work, as it happened in the early church, more than 3,000 may be baptized at Mass in our parishes (Acts 2:36-41).