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Homily - April 21, 2024

4th. Sunday of EASTER (Year B) (April 21, 2024): Acts 4:8-12; I Jn 3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18

The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Today, on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. It is a day when we reflect upon the tender image of Jesus as the Shepherd of us all. It is also a day set aside to pray for more shepherds within our Church who will shepherd God’s flock with the Heart of Christ.

Life Message: Our Gospel today is Jesus’ commentary upon the actions of the Pharisees in

contrast to His own. The Pharisees, as religious leaders, were not shepherds. They were

“thieves and robbers” who came to “steal and slaughter and destroy.” Jesus, however,

came so that those who listened to His voice “might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Consequently, the Gospel passage quoted above explains why the Pharisees were not true

shepherds. It was because they “work for pay” and have “no concern for the sheep.”

Hence, the Pharisees worked for their own self-importance—a fleeting and worldly reward. In

other words, they saw themselves as the true teachers and interpreters of the Law

and saw anyone who did not follow them as a threat. Hence, these Pharisees clearly

perceived Jesus as such a threat to them.

Conclusion: To “take refuge in the Lord”, the Good Shepherd, requires that we first face

up to our own powerlessness, our limitations, and our need to follow someone if we want to

experience true fulfillment in our lives. Unlike literal sheep, we are aware of the risk that our

shepherd takes: “A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep”. And so, we exclaim,

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us…” “He is the stone rejected by the

builders, who has become the cornerstone”. And so, more than merely knowing the shepherd’s voice, we know his name, “by which we are saved.” Because we agree to be sheep, “we are God’s children now.” Therefore, as priests and lay faithful, laying our lives down is an act of sacrificial love that enables us to look only at the needs of those around us. Remember, that pride and selfishness must disappear, and the good of the other must become our only goal. Reflect upon how well you do this and pray that the Good Shepherd will use you to shepherd those in your life who need it the most.

Prayer: Divine Shepherd, you came to lay down Your life for us all so that we might have life

and have it to the fullest. Help me to receive and imitate Your love so that I will lay my life

down for others, leading them to You, their holy Shepherd. Jesus, my Good Shepherd, I

trust in You.


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