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The fourth Sunday of Easter is often called Good Shepherd Sunday because in our three year cycle of readings the Gospels for these Sundays taken from the 10th Chapter of John’s Gospel in which Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd.
In the section of John’s Gospel we read this weekend, Jesus reminds us that the Good Shepherd enters through the gate, and “the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out…………. He walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.” Later in the Gospel Jesus says: “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……………. I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Clearly Jesus was reminding us that it is in listening for his voice and in following him we will find our salvation.
In our first reading this Sunday from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear Peter exhort the people: “Repent and be baptized, everyone 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.” We are told that “those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.”
Our second reading this Sunday is taken from the first Letter of Saint Peter. Peter’s words continue the theme of the Gospel. “For you have gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. What helps you to listen for the voice of the shepherd?
2. What do you think Jesus meant when he said that he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly?
3. Have you ever “gone astray?” What helped you to return to the shepherd?