Fourth Sunday of Easter
Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12, Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 21, 29,
First Letter of Saint John 3:1-2, & John 10:11-18
Today, the Fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally celebrated as Good Shepherd Sunday. We lift this image of Jesus as our way of thinking about how our Lord takes care of us. We should also call to mind the comforting words of Psalm 23. We are reminded that Jesus not only protects us in our darkest hours but that He freely laid down His life for us. Why then did Jesus use this image of the Good Shephard?
In Palestine, the shepherd brought the sheep into the sheepfold every night. It was a circular stone wall with an opening or door where the sheep entered. Once inside for the night, the shepherd slept at the door's entrance so that none of the sheep would stray. Jesus is the gate, and anyone who enters through Him will be safe and go freely in and out in protection.
Secondly, a shepherd gives his sheep "quality time." The Good Shepherd goes about His task tending His sheep with no stress and in peace because He knows His sheep (people), and they know, love, and trust Him.
Third, the shepherd works overtime. He sees his sheep as a "precious" commodity in terms of sharing His unconditional love and devotion. He waits patiently, and he does not mind working long hours.
Lastly, the shepherd will be there until the end of time. He is there for them, denying himself, sacrificing himself, and, at times, suffering. He is there for them forever.
Friends, whether we think of the Good Shepherd's image or not, whether we like it or not, we too are shepherds. We can lead others to verdant pastures. As a parent, teacher, relative, friend, or companion, we influence people to be the best version of themselves.
Today, we pray that we may listen to the voice of Jesus as he calls us to Him that we may enter the sheepfold through Him and be safe as we live our life in Him.
Question of the Day: Will you follow the teachings of Jesus to lead others into the sheepfold?
Prayer: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)