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April 30, 2023 – 4th Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) (Cycle A, Yr. I)

Community Word: Jesus Christ, the Living Hope, leads us to eternal life.
Theme: We have hope for eternal life when we follow the guidance of Jesus, our Good Shepherd.
Promise: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved…” (Jn 10:9a)
Our theme for the 4th Sunday of Easter (Good Shepherd Sunday) exhorts us to be part in building the kingdom of God by following the voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. We are made for heaven; God in His infinite mercy created us for Himself so that one day we may enjoy the fullness of His divine love forever. He desires for us to inherit His kingdom through the person of Jesus.
As Christians, we are called to bring the Lord into our hearts, into our homes, workplaces and community. We are called to build up His Church, which exists as a sign and instrument of intimate union with God. We labor for and with the Lord that His kingdom may be made known to all men while we wait for the glory of Heaven. God desires that His kingdom be in us and invites us to work with Him so that His loving reign may be established first in ourselves, then to others, our family and community.
How do we build God’s kingdom in our hearts? We begin by being familiar with the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. We recognize His voice because He speaks only the truth to us. John describes us like the sheep who only listens to the calling of their shepherd, “…the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them…” (cf. Jn 10:3-5). Just like the sheep in the parable, we will follow the voice that is familiar to us, the voice that we are accustomed to hearing. If we spend time in knowing God’s word, studying and reflecting on it, listening and obeying the teaching of the Church, dedicating time in silent contemplation of God, we can build a habit of hearing Him speak and become comforted by His voice.
In this way, listening to God becomes a habit and a way of life. We become used to hearing God in our hearts whenever He chooses to speak to us. As God’s word grows in our being, we can readily say that the foundation of God’s kingdom is laid down and we are then ready to share His kingdom with our family and community members. Sharing God’s word is sowing the “seeds” of the kingdom in others so that in turn, they can nourish and grow it on their own. Recognizing and listening to the voice of Jesus will bear fruit in order for God’s kingdom to flourish.
As we continue to be in our “sheep pen” in this world filled with distractions, struggles and temptations, there are many voices that we are hearing. There are those that make us feel depressed, fearful and discouraged, but there are those that touch us and bring us encouragement and hope. Above the confusing voices, we must be familiar only with the true voice of our Good Shepherd. His voice is the Truth, the Way and the Life. Yes, we can build God’s kingdom in the midst of the many crises in our life and the Shepherd’s voice is clearly guiding us through them all.
With complete trust in the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can truly be transformed and be saved. Jesus is our gate towards eternal life and He is unfolding this promise before our very eyes, “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved…” (Jn 10:9a). Jesus has risen and He came so that we might have life and have it more abundantly, (cf Jn 10:10b).
Jesus, my loving and good Shepherd, teach me to be humble and always dependent on You. Allow me to recognize Your voice that I may not go astray. Keep me always within Your sheepfold, that I will be safe from temptation. Teach me to be in union with Your flock to remain strong against any form of distraction. Remind me how much You love me by your sacrificial love that we will gain life in abundance. Amen.
Reflection Questions:

  1. Am I a humble sheep in the Lord’s flock? How do I show my dependence on Jesus as my Shepherd?
  2. How do I respond when called to be a lay under-shepherd for God’s people (as LSS shepherd, circle shepherd, class shepherd, teacher, sharer, or leader)?
    This Week’s Daily Mass Reading Guide:
    April 30, 2023 (Sun) – Acts 2:14, 34-41/ Ps 23:1-6/ 1Pt 2:20-25/ Jn 10:1-10
    May 1, 2023 (Mon) – Acts 11:1-18/ Ps 42:2, 3; 43:3, 4/ Jn 10:11-18
    May 2, 2023 (Tues) – Act 11; 19-26/ PS 87:1-7/ Jn 10:22-30
    May 3, 2023 (Wed) – 1 Cor 15:1-8/ Ps 19:2-3, 4-5/ Jn 14:6-14
    May 4, 2023 (Thurs) – Acts 13:13-25/ Ps 89:2, 3, 21, 22, 25-27/ Jn 13:16-20
    May 5, 2023 (Fri) – Acts 13:26-33/ Ps 2:6-7, 8, 9, 10, 11/ Jn 14:1-6
    May 6, 2023 (Sat) – Acts 13:44-52/ Ps 98:1-4/ Jn 14:7-14
    “Ignorance of the Bible is ignorance of Christ. Read your Bible daily!”

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