Readings and Reflections Today April 22, 2018 Fourth Sunday of Easter

The Cathedral Shrine and Parish of the Good Shepherd

Regalado Ave. cor. Omega St., Fairview Park, Quezon City Shepherd

Reading 1 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 PS 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29

R. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone. or: R. Alleluia.

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.

R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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.

R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.

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.

R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 1 JN 3:1-2 :11-18

Beloved:
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.

Alleluia JN 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel 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.

Reflection Today

The Good Shepherd

Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 22, 2018

Jn 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (Jn. 10:11)”

The Bible itself is filled with the good shepherd images. My personal favorite among the psalms is Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.” Prophet Isaiah who consoles the Israelites in Babylonian Exile, speaks of God who is like a shepherd who gathers back the lost sheep and brings them back home from the land of exile (Isaiah 40:11) Some great leaders of Israel are shepherds. Moses is tending to his father-in-law’s flocks when he is called by God in the burning bush (Exo 3). David also is taking care of his father’s sheep when Samuel comes and anoints him king (1 Sam 16). No wonder, Jesus takes the image of Himself and introduces Himself as the Good Shepherd.

From today’s Gospel, we can learn several characteristics of a good shepherd. Firstly, Jesus distinguishes between the Good Shepherd and the bad shepherds. The good shepherd owns the flocks and is responsible for their lives. Meanwhile, those bad shepherds do not own the sheep, and they work primarily for the money, not for the sheep. That is why when danger comes from the predators’ attack or the thieves’ ambush; the hired workers would run and save their own lives rather than to protect their sheep. The prophet Jeremiah criticizes the corrupt and abusive leaders of Israel during his time as he prophesies, “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture (Jer 23:1).

The second characteristic of a good shepherd is he knows well his sheep and calls them by name. I used to think that “calling sheep by name” is just exaggerated, metaphorical language to show the shepherd’s care for his sheep, but later on, I discovered that “calling by name” actually, literally happens. The sheep in Judea are raised both for wool and for sacrifice. Especially those intended for wool production, the shepherd shall live together with his flock for years. No wonder if he knows well each sheep, its characters, and even its unique physical features. He will call them by name like ‘small-feet’ or ‘large-ears.’ Because of the intimate bond between the two, the sheep were so familiar with the voice of the shepherd and will listen whenever he calls them. It reminds me of our pet-dog in our house. Our family calls it “cipluk,” and my mother and young brother take good care of it. Thus, every time my mother or brother calls its name, cipluk hastens to approach them. Yet, every time I go home and try to call its name, cipluk just won’t give any attention!

The third and more important characteristic is the good shepherd will lay down his life for his sheep. This seems to be an exaggeration. Why would you die for your sheep? If we recognize that the shepherd has a strong bond with his sheep and takes good care of them, he will have no second thought in defending his sheep from the attack of dangerous predators and robbers. At times, the robbers simply outnumber the shepherd and mercilessly beat the courageous shepherd to the death. The shepherd literally lays down his life for the sheep. This is not an uncommon happening in the time of Jesus in Palestine, and in fact, still happening in our time in some parts of the world.

To have the Good Shepherd as our Lord means that we belong to God intimately for better and for worse. He knows each one of us personally, and He will not abandon us when our lives face serious problems and dangers. He will not only care for us as long as we produce “wool,” but He continues to love us even when we have not been good sheep. In fact, Jesus lays down His life on the cross, so that we, His sheep, may have life, a life to the fullest. Have we become a good sheep? Do we recognize His voice? Do we listen to Him? Do we truly follow Him? 

Br. Valentinus Bayuhadi Ruseno, OP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *