May 11th, 2014 – 4th Sunday of Easter – Year A

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Today is the 4th Sunday of Easter and it is commonly known as “ Good Shepherd Sunday”, a day in which the Church recalls the relationship between God and His people as described in the image of Shepherd and Sheep. Each year, the Gospel Reading of today is chosen from Chapter 10 of St. John’s Gospel, where Jesus speaks of himself as the “Good Shepherd”. In recent times, this day has also become known as ”Vocations Sunday,” a day when our Church prays especially for new shepherds and pastors to lead the Christian communities.

We are still in the Easter Season and today’s Liturgy continues to hearten us with the presence of the Risen Lord in our midst, contemplated as Shepherd and Guardian of the sheep. The Responsorial Psalm for today, beautifully introduces that theme -”The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want”. Jesus is the Good Shepherd because of his gentle care and loving commitment to the flock he pastures and protects. The Gospel Reading today tells us that Jesus is also the “gate for the sheep”, because he is the way to salvation. As sheep gate, he leads us to eternal life. The First Reading from Acts of the Apostles portrays Peter proclaiming how to return to the Lord’s flock, by personal repentance, the purification of Baptism and by receiving the Holy Spirit. In the Second Reading Peter seems to echo the words of Isaiah 53 as he recalls how we had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way. Jesus Christ takes on himself the task of reuniting the sheep, as shepherd and guardian of our souls!