Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday)

Fourth Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday)

Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter
First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 13:14, 43-52
Second Reading: Revelations 7:9, 14b-17
Gospel: John 10:27-30


“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27

The parable in the Gospel today brings to our attention three consoling truths: Christ gives His life for His sheep; He remains with them constantly through the bond of grace; He will not rest content until there be but one flock and one shepherd.

Christ Himself is the Good Shepherd, who knows each one of His sheep, who gives His life for them and snatches them from the jaws of the marauding wolf. He is the true shepherd who fulfills Ezechiel’s prophecy foretelling for Israel a shepherd from the end of time who was to deliver his people.

Jesus perfectly manifested sacrificial love as the Divine Shepherd. He was willing to sacrifice everything.  He did not let suffering, persecution, rejection and the like deter Him from His responsibility of caring for us in a total and complete way.  It should inspire us, console us and encourage us to know how deep His love for us really is.

Jesus embodies shepherds who care deeply for those entrusted to their care, which is in contrast with those who are just going through the motions and are more motivated by selfishness than sacrificial love. This absolute love is seen, also, in the unwavering love of a parent, sibling, or dear friend.  When the love one offers us is unwavering, especially in difficult times, this is a great support.  And love offered to another like this forges a deep spiritual bond that is stronger than any hardship we may face.  No matter what “wolf” comes our way, we must know of the unwavering support of the Divine Shepherd.  And when we can see that love made manifest in the unwavering support of others, we are doubly blessed.

Jesus wants us to return the gift of His unwavering love and support to us to Him by offering this same unwavering commitment to one another.  This is not to say that we won’t experience temptation in life which can make it hard to stick with it through the hard times or to be there for those who need us when they need us.  It’s hard to be faithful in all things and to never shy away in the face of the temptation of fear.

Reflect, today, how well you imitate the Good Shepherd.  Where you are lacking, let Him shepherd you so that you may shepherd others.  Run to the Good Shepherd and trust in His perfect love for you.