Theme of the Sunday: The Good Shepherd. A shepherd is a guide and a leader and so the fourth Sunday after Easter is called Vocation Sunday a day of special prayer for those who are “shepherds” in the Church. There is only one “Shepherd” and that is Jesus. We are his flock. Those who belong to his flock recognise his voice. Jesus is also the gate. Those who need to contact his sheep must go through him, must, that is, mould their way of thinking and acting on his. The first and second readings are linked to this theme and show us what Jesus did, which we must imitate.

Entrance Antiphon cf. Ps 33:5-6
The merciful love of the Loco fills the earth; by the word of the Loco the heavens were made, alleluia.

Collect
Almighty ever-living God, lead us to a share in the joys of heaven, so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before. Who lives and reigns with you…

FIRST READING
“God has made him both Lord and Christ.”
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2.14a.36-41)

[On the day of Pentecost,] Peter, standing with the Eleven, lifted up his voice and said to the multitude, “Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one whom the Lord our God calls to him.” And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptised, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 23: I-3a.3b-4.5.6 (R. 1)
R/. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me; he revives my soul. R/.

He guides me along the right path, for the sake of his name.
Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
Your crook and your staff will give me comfort. R/.

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

You have prepared a table before me in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil; my cup is overflowing. R/.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for length of days unending. R/.

SECOND READING
“You have returned to the shepherd of your souls.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Peter (l Peter 2:20b-25)

Beloved: If when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God’s approval. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
The word of the Lord.

ALLELUIA
Alleluia. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my own, and my own know me. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“I am the door of the sheep.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 10:1-10)

At that time: Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
The Gospel of the Lord.

Today’s Reflection
“By his wounds you have been healed,” says Saint Peter in today’s Second Reading. The shepherd becomes the door of the sheepfold. He risks his life in order to protect his sheep. The predator targets the shepherd who guards the sheep like a door. His life is in danger. He is attacked and killed. He dies to save the lives of the sheep. But a thief runs away when the predator attacks. The sheep get scattered and killed. In Jesus we have the good shepherd who “bore our sins in his body on the tree,” who was wounded and killed to save his sheep. We are that sheep saved by the death of Jesus, our good shepherd. Do we hear his voice and follow his path? Or do we hear the voice of the thief who “comes to kill and destroy?” Lord, help us hear your voice and follow you.

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