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The fourth Sunday of Easter is often referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday because in our three year cycle of readings, the Gospels for this Sunday are always taken from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, where Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd. In fact in the opening lines of today’s Gospel Jesus says: “I am the Good Shepherd.”
In this Gospel Jesus articulates three qualities of the Good Shepherd. 1. The Good Shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep.” 2. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep: “I know mine and mine know me.” 3. The Good Shepherd is inclusive: “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice.”
Our first reading this Sunday is again taken from the Act of the Apostles. In the section we read today Peter, speaking of Jesus, says: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” In the past, some have interpreted these words to suggest that only Christians go to heaven. Those who espoused this idea, however, failed to realize that salvation is God’s work. And if God wants people to be saved, God will find a way to do it. For those of us who know and believe in Jesus Christ, however, it behooves us to follow Him who is the sure way to salvation. .
Our second reading this weekend is from the first Letter of Saint John. John reminds us: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he it.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Which quality of the Good Shepherd do you most appreciate?
- What do you think St. John meant when he referred to us as a children of God?
- What do you think St. John meant when he said we will be like God?