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4th Sunday of Easter - April 7th, 2017

 

 

I Am The Good Shepherd

 

 John 10: 11 – 18

 

Reading 1 acts 2:14a, 36-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.


Responsorial Psalm ps 23:1-2a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.

R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.

R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.

R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.


reading 2 1 pt 2:20b-25

Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.


Gospel jn 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.


The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.


When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.


So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.


Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”




When I read or hear the story of the Good Shepherd I am reminded of my mother. My mother was afraid of storms. We lived out in the country and when ever a dark cloud would show up in the sky my mother would gather us together and head for my grandmother’s house. There were the seven of us boys at that time. My father was overseas, fighting in World War II. My mother, like the good shepherd, would lead us to grandma’s, carrying the youngest one in her arms. She was protecting her flock making sure we were all safe from any impending danger that a storm might produce. Some of her siblings would laugh at her because usually the dark clouds in the sky presented very little danger to any of us. But, that did not deter my mother. Her concern was not just for herself, it was mostly for the safety of her children.


We would follow her, hand in hand, so she wouldn’t lose sight of any us. We were sort of like little sheep following their Shepherd. We always managed to reach the safety of my grandmother’s house without a problem. We trusted my mother, of course. We always felt safe and secure with her. We followed her wherever she led us. Being a good parent means you take on the responsibility of taking care of for your child or children - twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. My mother was a good parent and she was a good shepherd to her children.


Likewise being a good shepherd means that the shepherd is there with his sheep taking care of them twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks a year. On this “Good Shepherd Sunday,” we hear the voice of the True Shepherd, Jesus Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus, the Good Shepherd, says his sheep know his voice and follow him. They are not fooled by the voices of strangers, that is, the storms of life calling out, so they stay close to Him. Our readings also remind us that as followers of Christ we are to keep our focus on him. My brothers and I kept our focus on our mother knowing she was leading us to a safe place.


Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is there leading us every moment of our lives. Some times we lose sight of him and stray because we are not paying attention to him. We aren’t listening, to his direction. In these moments when we are lax Jesus goes out of His way to guide us back to the flock. Trust in Jesus and He will lead you away from the storms of life. He will show you the right way. And in his presence you will always be safe and secure. If you follow him wherever he leads you, you will be led to your heavenly home. At least that’s what Christians believe. If we take up our crosses and follow him, Jesus promises us a life more abundant than we could ever imagine.


Like the Good Shepherd he is, Jesus leads us along the pathway to eternal life in heaven. He does this through his Church and the Church leaders, who are also shepherds, especially the Holy Father and the bishops and our pastors and priests. And, our religious and maybe, even we deacons. But we must listen, we must pay attention to their teachings. So, stay alert and let your focus always be on the Good Shepherd so that you are not fooled by the voices of strangers.


In addition to this being “Good Shepherd Sunday,” today is also the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.” This is a special day to pray that all Christians may discern and live out their vocations, and that more shepherds will be open to the call to life in the service of God and the Church. It is also Mother’s Day. Let us remember our mother’s as well, those living and those who are with the Good Shepherd.


By the Grace of God –
Deacon Glennon Politte –
April 7, 2017


 

 

     

 

The Greatest Portrait . . . !



Proudly displayed, in Art Galleries across the world -
the description of this man that many see,
on ‘holy cards’ and prayer books, His picture -
in many sizes and shapes, for all who believe.

Poses by the hundred’s, mostly of Him on the cross -
this man who suffered, and died for our sins,
painted on stained glass windows in many churches -
a reminder to us; this man who called us, ‘Friends.’

People contemplate His description in wonder -
how tall, how lean, what height was He?
this Savior of all humankind, this man -
who carried our sins on a cross to Calvary?

Sculptured figures abound, in stores across the globe -
depicting some kind of description of this man,
trying to capture His presence for all to adore -
He, who walked and preached amidst the Holy Land.

Many have described Him in drawings -
with dark skin, hair, and dark piercing eyes,
perhaps medium in stature, with a crown of thorns -
a perception, in each persons own mind, He resides.

How can we really know what he looked like -?
this carpenter, God’s only begotten Son?
this man called 'Teacher' - named Jesus of Nazareth -
who worked miracles; forgave the sins of everyone?

When I want to know what Jesus looked like -
I open my bible; for there in those pages, I recall,
in the reading of the scripture passages about Jesus -
there lies the greatest portrait of them all!



© Steve A. Politte
8/31/2006
 

 

 

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