Forth Sunday of Easter, First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 2:14,36-41
On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’
Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’
‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’
He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’
They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand (3000) were added to their number.
Forth Sunday of Easter, Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-6
The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me, to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path; he is true to his name.
If I should walk in the valley of darkness no evil would I fear.
You are there with your crook and your staff; with these you give me comfort.
You have prepared a banquet for me in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing.
Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.
Forth Sunday of Easter, Second Reading: First letter of Saint Peter 1 Peter 2:20-25
The merit, in the sight of God, is in bearing punishment patiently when you are punished after doing your duty.
This, in fact, is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow the way he took. He had not done anything wrong, and there had been no perjury in his mouth. He was insulted and did not retaliate with insults; when he was tortured he made no threats but he put his trust in the righteous judge. He was bearing our faults in his own body on the cross, so that we might die to our faults and live for holiness; through his wounds you have been healed. You had gone astray like sheep but now you have come back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my own sheep and my own know me.
Forth Sunday of Easter, Gospel Reading: holy Gospel according to John 10:1-10
Jesus said: ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand.
The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out.
When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice.
They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’
Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them. So Jesus spoke to them again:
‘I tell you most solemnly, I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come are thieves and brigands;
but the sheep took no notice of them.
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.’
It was the Forth Sunday of Easter on 11 May 2014.
The Readings that were read in the Eucharistic Celebrations all over the world on the same day are shown above:
First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 36-41,
Responsorial: Psalm 23:1-6,
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20-25 &
Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10.
We have extracted the Homilies of Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I based on the aforesaid Readings to share with you, so that you could similarly be encouraged:
GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
Sunday, 25 April 1999
1. “I am the Good Shepherd ...; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (Gospel Acclamation).
As we continue our journey through the liturgical season of Easter, today we celebrate what is traditionally called “Good Shepherd Sunday”. Jesus applies to himself this image (cf. John 10:6), rooted in the Old Testament and very dear to Christian tradition. Christ is the Good Shepherd who, by dying on the Cross, lays down his life for his sheep. Thus a profound communion is established between the Good Shepherd and his flock. Jesus, according to the Evangelist, “calls his own sheep by name and leads them out ... and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3-4). Sheep and Shepherd are united by long familiarity, real knowledge and mutual attachment: he takes care of them; they trust him and follow him faithfully.
How comforting, then, are the words we have just repeated in the Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want” (Psalm 23:1).
2. Continuing a beautiful custom, for several years I have had the joy of ordaining new priests precisely on Good Shepherd Sunday. Today there are 31 of them. They will dedicate their enthusiasm and fresh energies to the service of the community of Rome and the universal Church.
Together with the Cardinal Vicar, the Auxiliary Bishops, the priests of the Diocese and everyone here, I thank the Lord for this great gift. In a particular way, dear ordinands, I share your joy and that of your teachers, your families and all the friends who have gathered round you at this deeply emotional moment which will leave you with a profound and lifelong memory.
In mentioning your teachers, my thoughts at this time turn to Bishop Plinio Pascoli, whom the Lord called to himself a few days ago. He was rector of the Roman Seminary for many years and then Auxiliary Bishop, dedicating his long life to the care of vocations and the formation of priests. May his example be a further incentive for everyone to grasp the importance of the gift of priesthood.
3. Dear ordinands, through the ancient and evocative sacramental rite of the laying-on of hands and the prayer of consecration, you will become priests in order to be servants of the Christian people in a new and more profound way, in the image of the Good Shepherd. You will share in Christ's own mission, scattering freely the seed of God's word. The Lord has called you to be ministers of his mercy and dispensers of his mysteries.
The Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life, will be the crystal clear spring that will constantly replenish your priestly spirituality. You will be able to draw from it the inspiration for your daily ministry, apostolic zeal for the work of evangelization and spiritual consolation in the inevitable moments of difficulty and inner struggle. By standing at the altar where the sacrifice of the Cross is renewed, you will increasingly discover the wealth of Christ's love and learn to express it in your life.
4. Dear friends, it is very significant that you are receiving the sacrament of Holy Orders on this Good Shepherd Sunday, when we are celebrating the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Indeed, throughout history Christ's mission is extended through the work of the Shepherds to whom he entrusts the care of his flock. As he did with the first disciples, Jesus continues to choose new co-workers to care for his flock through the ministry of the word, the sacraments and the service of charity. A vocation to the priesthood is a great gift and a great mystery. A gift, first of all, of divine benevolence, because it is the fruit of grace. It is also a mystery because a vocation is rooted in the depths of conscience and of human freedom. It starts with a dialogue of love, which day after day moulds the priest's personality through a formation process begun in the family, continued in the seminary and extended throughout his life. Only through this uninterrupted ascetical and pastoral journey can the priest become a living icon of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who gives himself for the flock entrusted to his care.
The words I will address to you in a little while when I give you the offerings for the Eucharistic sacrifice echo in my mind: “Imitate the mystery you celebrate”. Yes, dear ordinands, this mystery you dispense is really Christ himself, who through the communication of the Holy Spirit is the source of holiness and a ceaseless call to sanctification. Imitate this mystery: imitate Christ, be Christ! May each of you be able to say with St Paul: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
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18 May 2014