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Homily - Apr 30th, 2023

4 th. Sunday of Easter (Year A). April,30,2023. Acts 2:14a, 36-41; Ps. 23: 1-3a, 3b4, 5, 6. John 10:1-10. “I Came That They May Have Life… Abundantly”.

Introduction: On this Good Shepherd Sunday and the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, the Church reminds us of our call to become good shepherds of God’s flock and good sheep of His parishes and invites us to pray for vocations to the priesthood, the diaconate, and the consecrated life.

Both the Old and New Testaments use the image of a Shepherd and His flock to describe the unique relationship of God with Israel and of the Christ with Christians. So, for instance, the Old Testament speaks of God as shepherd of his people, Israel: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1). The Messiah is also pictured as the shepherd of God's people: “He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms” (Isaiah 40:11). In the New Testament, Jesus says, “I am the Good Shepherd who will risk his life to seek out and save the stray sheep” (Matt.18:12, Luke 15:4). Indeed, he is “the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls” (1 Pet. 2:25).

Life Message: What can shepherding teach us about God and our relationship with him? In today’s Gospel, two brief parables show us Jesus, the first, as a selfless, caring “shepherd” who provides for his sheep protection and life itself, and the second, as our unique gateway ("sheep gate"), to eternal salvation. In other words, besides guiding his flock to Eternal Life as the Good Shepherd, Jesus is himself the gateway to Eternal Life. At the end of each day the shepherd brought his sheep into shelter. They knew the voice of their shepherd and came at his beckoning. So familiar was the shepherd and his sheep, that each was called by a distinct name. Thus, today, Jesus is sharing some basic earthly truths that have a heavenly meaning, by making connections between sheep, shepherds, thieves, and robbers, and applying these earthly observations, as guides to our spiritual lives.

Conclusion: In fact, the Bible compares us to sheep in many places. Ps. 119:176 says, "I have strayed like a lost sheep." The prophet Isaiah in chapter 53:6, said, " We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” In fact, if you consult anyone who raises sheep, they will tell you that if you give sheep an opportunity to make trouble, they will take it and can be very destructive. We, like sheep, know that it is simply impossible for us to stay perfect. But our Shepherd provides the gate and the path, hence the assurance that, “I Came That They May Have Life, and have it more Abundantly” (Jn10:10). Therefore, we need to become good sheep in the fold of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

We Pray: Good and gracious Lord, we thank you for your role as gate and shepherd. We are blessed to be your lambs led on the path of everlasting life in You. Through Your death we have eternal life, free from the grasp of robbers and thieves. Thank you for being our “GPS” to get us to our desired destination. AMEN!


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