Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts.13:14, 43 – 52
Apocalypse 7:9, 14 – 17
John: 10:27 – 30
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday”, when we pray specially for vocations to the work of service in the Church, for the sake of the Gospel.
Paul and Barnabas were answering this call with almost the whole town assembled in the synagogue to hear the word of God. However, they met with rejection and contradiction from some of the Jews, who were jealous of how boldly they proclaimed the word. Do we not see the same thing happening in our world to-day. Many innocent protesters standing in solidarity with the people of Ukraine were imprisoned for their actions. Others going about their life’s business have been gunned down and left wounded or dead on the streets. Jealousy and greed for power can cause havoc among us. Paul and Barnabas’ reaction was to shake the dust from their feet, and in the joy of the Spirit move on to Iconium.
Through our Baptism we are “God’s light for the nation’s, carrying his message of salvation to the ends of the earth. Jesus, is our “Good Shepherd leading us to springs of living water” if only we have faith and are open and receptive to his word, to “come follow me”. Like Jesus we will have to endure the cross, but God will not burden us with what we cannot endure when we choose his will, and not our own whims.
The intimacy that Jesus desires and invites us to experience, is beautifully portrayed in the Gospel reading from John. Jesus speaks of his people as “My sheep”. We are his. We belong to him. We have been given to him by the Father. We are his joy. He says ‘I know them. He knows us and we follow him. Following Jesus involves making daily choices and facing challenges. We have to ‘let go’ of many good things in order to receive them back with freedom and the blessing of God the Creator. Each time we do this we are a step closer to Eternal Life, promised us by God through Jesus Christ.
As we continue our mission to proclaim and witness to the liberating word of God this week, may we rejoice and give thanks for the blessings of this Easter Season and willingly share our gifts with those in need both near and far.
Therese Lenehan, O.P.