Not a sermon–just a few notes on the readings. Now that we have reached 4th Sunday of Easter, the liturgy turns towards Pentecost and the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Good Shepherd –refers back to the Book of Ezekiel ch. 34 vv2-6 where the Old Testament priests were castigated for being bad shepherds–thieves and robbers–not taking care of the flock–in this case, of the people. Jesus says he is the authentic shepherd who does take care of them–In fact, elsewhere he will say he will lay down his life for his sheep–i.e. referring to his crucifixion for our sake, his followers.
- The Good Shepherd will lead his sheep to pasture : i.e. eternal life.
- The Good Shepherd–we are to trust in Our Lord–we know his voice as he leads us to eternal life. The first century shepherd had names for his sheep and he could call them by name. Even to his day, the Bedouin shepherd goes ahead of his sheep and they follow him –not like a Scottish shepherd who walks behind them.
- Jesus is also the gate of the sheepfold –it is through him i.e. his death and resurrection, that his followers enter eternal life.
- ” I am the gate “ ; “ I am the shepherd “. In the Book of Ezekiel God himself says he is the shepherd; also in psalm 22–“The Lord is my shepherd” Our Lord in this passage of John is claiming to be God himself–it is a divine claim.
- Acts of the Apostles–St. Luke’s second book tells the story of the early church after the resurrection– the first part tells the story of Peter with his sermons, miracles and persecution; the second part deals with St. Paul and his great missionary journeys and how he brought the Faith to Europe. The Apostles are led by the Holy Spirit in the spread of the Gospel, perform many miracles through his power and are persecuted. It is the hallmark of the Word of God that it always fulfils whatever God intends for it, but those who proclaim it are persecuted–this has been true down the ages even to the present day.
- 4th Sunday’s Reading : It is Pentecost Sunday and we get another extract from Peter’s first sermon. There are 3,000 converts as a result–not because he was a great preacher but because of the gift of the Spirit given to him. Peter’s sermon contains the very same Catholic truths we proclaim every Sunday in the Nicene Creed .
How about that for the consistency of truth.
The teaching of the Vatican Council 11 ( c. 1960 s )
“The Church is a sheepfold whose one and indispensable door is Christ. It is a flock of which God Himself foretold he would be the shepherd, and whose sheep, although ruled by human shepherds, are nevertheless led and nourished by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and the Prince of the shepherds, who gave his life for the sheep”
Vatican Council — Lumen Gentium. para. No. 6
The self-image the Church has of itself–what a blessing to be a part of it.
Note: Votive Candles. Many people like lighting candles in church. I am more than happy to light them for you. Just ask by phone or email. You can say your prayer in your own home while the candle is lit in church.