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Catholic Reflections Daily: Today’s Mass readings Acts 2:14a, 36-41;1 Peter 2:20b-25; John 10:1-10. Gospel Theme of the day is Good Shepherd

Catholic Daily Readings For Today

The Reading Texts is according to the USCCB Lectionary

First Reading

Acts 2:14a, 36-41

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them,36 Therefore let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” 38 Peter [said] to them, “Repent and be baptized, every 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. 39 For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” 40 He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm

Psalm 23: 1-3a, 3b4, 5, 6

Response: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or: Alleluia.

Second Reading

1 Peter 2:20b-25

But if you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.

22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”

23 When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Gospel

John 10:1-10

1 “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. 2 But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. 5 But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came [before me] are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

catholic reflections daily April 30 2023 2

Powerful Catholic Reflections Daily

Title: Good Shepherd

Focus: We live in a world which often looks confused and deviated. This is exactly the situation of a shepherdless sheep

1. Today is the 4th Easter Sunday, and this is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday. The focus of the Word of God is, God is the Good Shepherd. This image is very powerful and significant. This implies an essential and intimate bonding. It is a covenant,  a commitment. Like a true shepherd, he protects us, is attentive and sensitive to us, deeply caring and concerned toward us. We matter a lot for him. Our safety, growth and happiness is his abiding concern. His shepherding is not a mere duty as a hirling. It is a passion. He owns us up. That is why, for our sake, for our safety and wellbeing, he goes to any extent, even to the point of dying for us.

2. This is what Jesus did for us: he protects us from every attack of the evil. He safeguards and guards us against every snare of the enemy. He directs and guides us in the right path. He leads us to the safe zones. He preserves and sustains us in clear and steady ways.

He cares, nourishes and strengthens us in nurturing grounds. And, in order to  extricate us from the iron hold of the evil, he immolates his own self. In order to cleanse us from the bruises and blows of sin, he sheds his own blood.

3. Now, on this celebration of the Good Shepherd Sunday, our first duty is to understand and accept the Lord as our supreme shepherd. He is the first and the best. No other shall claim our allegiance to them. We shall not owe our loyalty and commitment to anyone else. We shall not be wooed or misguided by any false shepherd. We shall not run behind any false shepherding.

4. Therefore, on this day, first of all, we shall deepen our trust in our unique shepherd. Confide in him. Not enough. It is not enough to know and affirm what he is, or what he does. But much more important is, what we are, and what we are to him, what we do to  him. In other words, he is always a good shepherd to us. But how much are we good sheep?

5. Now, our whole identity and  the essence of our discipleship is our identity as the sheep that belong to the one supreme shepherd who is the Lord himself. The purpose and the quality of our vocation as the sheep consist in our bonding with the shepherd and experiencing the effect and the fruit of this bonding.

6. This bonding between the shepherd and the sheep is characterised by the spirit and ambience of belonging and intimacy. He is OUR shepherd and we are HIS sheep. Such an owning and closeness do not pertain to others who can be manipulators and destroyers of the sheep.

7. In the light of this image of shepherd and sheep, it is for us to check sincerely and see how much we nurture and grow, foster and testify this bonding with the shepherd. How deep is our belonging and closeness with him? How eager, attentive and prompt is our listening to him? How ready and willing we are to be guided and led by him? How loyal and committed we are to follow him and walk in his footsteps? 

8. It is also a clear indication to all those who are acclaimed as shepherds of the sheep of the faithful. There may not be something invalid in it since they are sharers and collaborators with the chief shepherd. But it should be very clear that there are no co-shepherds. There is only one shepherd and that is the Lord.

9. All are only sheep. The so-called shepherds are only caretakers and stewards, at the most, “herdmen”. The title of ‘shepherd’ or ‘pastor’ is nothing dignitary or status symbol or vesting with a secular power or authority. This is in no way diluting the sacredness or the merit of these stewards. 

10. Certainly they are unique in being specially chosen and anointed by the Spirit and appointed as priests, ministers and leaders. But it is not a position wielding powers and rights. It is a sanctified and sanctifying obligation. It indicates more the sacred duty and ministry of shepherding, that is, loving, caring, guiding, serving the sheep and thus leading to the chief shepherd and enabling them to receive and enjoy life in full measures.

Call to Action: It is imperative for all of us to be receptive to being taught by God. We must be filled and guided by the Spirit to fulfill this calling.