Monday of the 4th Week of Easter

John 10:11-18

The Good Shepherd

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

Story – Three pastors got together for coffee one day and found all their churches had bat-infestation problems. “I got so mad,” said one, “I took a shotgun and fired at them. It made holes in the ceiling, but did nothing to the bats.” “I tried trapping them alive,” said the second. “Then I drove 50 miles before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church.” “I haven’t had any more problems,” said the third. “What did you do?” asked the others, amazed. “I simply baptized and confirmed them,” he replied. “I haven’t seen them since.” (from Reader’s Digest, July, 1994, p. 64)

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Shepherd – a word naturally of frequent occurence in Scripture. Sometimes the word “pastor” is used instead (Jer. 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 12:10; 17:16). This word is used figuratively to represent the relation of rulers to their subjects and of God to his people (Ps. 23:1; 80:1; Isa. 40:11; 44:28; Jer. 25:34, 35; Nahum 3:18; John 10:11, 14; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25; 5:4).

The duties of a shepherd in an unenclosed country like Palestine were very onerous. “In early morning he led forth the flock from the fold, marching at its head to the spot where they were to be pastured. Here he watched them all day, taking care that none of the sheep strayed, and if any for a time eluded his watch and wandered away from the rest, seeking diligently till he found and brought it back. In those lands sheep require to be supplied regularly with water, and the shepherd for this purpose has to guide them either to some running stream or to wells dug in the wilderness and furnished with troughs. At night he brought the flock home to the fold, counting them as they passed under the rod at the door to assure himself that none were missing. Nor did his labours always end with sunset. Often he had to guard the fold through the dark hours from the attack of wild beasts, or the wily attempts of the prowling thief (see 1 Sam. 17:34).”, Deane’s David.

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At the catacombs of St. Domitilla, Rome, one can see a small statue of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulder. This faithfully reflects the devotion of the early Christians, who used to hold services in this underground cemetery, to Jesus the Good Shepherd. The symbolism was not alien to the Israelites. This faithfully reflects the devotion of the early Christians, who used to hold services in this underground cemetery, to Jesus the Good Shepherd. The symbolism was not alien to the Israelites as they were a nomadic people, more pastoral rather than agricultural in their way of life. In the Old Testament was the Shepherd to Israel. In the New Testament Jesus is the Good Shepherd. More than just being good, Jesus is the true Shepherd ready to give His life for the flock. He is not like any hired hand whose first concern is profit; also, not like the Pharisees whom He called “thieves and robbers” whose interest is gain. The authentic Shepherd, Jesus guides His sheep with the authority of one who loves. He loves the flock with the love existing between Him and the Father. The flock reciprocates in kind, acknowledging Him in His loving care.

The priesthood is a vocation not a profession. It is a gift from God, a trust more than a responsibility. There are illustrious, noble persons in this world, philanthropists and even saints. Only Christ, however, can claim the title of the Good Shepherd. Priests, popularly accepted as Alter Christus in their person and conduct, may profit from these words of St. Polycarp of Smyrna on the ideal priest: “The presbyters must be tenderhearted, merciful toward all, turning back (the sheep) that have gone astray, visiting all the sick, not neglecting widow or orphan or poor man, but always taking thought for that which is honorable in the sight of God and of man, abstaining from all anger, respect of persons, unrighteous judgment, being far from all love of money, not hastily believing (anything) against anyone, not stern in judgment, knowing that we are all debtors because of sin.” (Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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One of the best images of Jesus is that of a Good Shepherd. He risks and lays down His life for His sheep; He seeks what was lost (Matt 18:12; Lk 15:4). He has compassion for people who are like sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36). He is also very personal in His relationship with His sheep. He calls His own sheep by name and the sheep is familiar with His voice. But the important question: Is he the Shepherd of our lives? Do we belong to His sheepfold? Are we familiar with His voice and follow Him? Is Christ is our Shepherd then He is our ultimate security. He is greatest value. He alone suffices, “The Lord is my Shepherd there is nothing I shall want,” (Ps 23). If we belong to His sheepfold then love is the trademark of our heart. We possess His compassion just as the Shepherd is compassionate. We are ready to die to our selfishness and lay down our lives for Him and for those who are in need. The people will see the Good Shepherd in our lives.

Another essential question we should ask ourselves today: Are we deeply in love with the Shepherd? This personal relationship can be developed only by the amount of time we spend with the Shepherd. How much time do we really spend praying, talking, being aware of the Shepherd’s presence? St. Paul was so in love with Jesus that Jesus permeated His whole life. That is why in one of his letters, St. Paul said: “It is no longer I that live but Christ lives in me…” If Jesus is our real Shepherd then we “have life and have it more abundantly.” (Fr. Titus Mananzan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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A Catholic missionary was doing a very good job in his mission village in the African interior. In a few years he had baptized many people and built a church, a school, and a health center. Owing to his heavy work schedule he took ill and had to be flown back to his native country in Europe for treatment. After many months he was well enough to return to Africa. To his surprise and utter disappointment he discovered that the whole village had abandoned his church and turned to a local evangelical preacher. Even the church he built had an evangelical signboard in front of it. “What went wrong?” he asked himself. How did his flourishing mission collapse overnight? “What did I do wrong?” he asked his former church members. The truth hit home one day when a woman said to him, “Father, you did a lot for us. You gave our children clothes and built up our village. But there was one thing you did not do. You did not bring us to know Jesus and help us to build up a personal relationship with our Lord.”

During the work of the Lord is great. But knowing the Lord of the work comes first. In introducing His image of God to his listeners, easily understandable for the people of His time, Jesus uses the image of the shepherd guarding and guiding his sheep. Some key elements are given that are important in any relationship and particularly in our relationship with God. The relationship is about knowing, trusting, listening, calling by name, guiding and following. In this way the relationship becomes life-giving and leading to genuine friendship with a commitment to give one’s whole life. If you live your life for Christ you will not be over concerned with the acquisition of wealth, you will be over interested in your own satisfaction or comfort or anything else worldly. You will be especially sensitive to the poor. Christ wants us to detach ourselves from our self-centeredness, to detach ourselves from the thought that we are in control; He wants us to trust God. (Fr. Heinz Kulueke, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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The movie Finding Nemo was released in 2003 and became an instant blockbuster. It is a story of a young clown fish named Nemo who was caught and brought to the city but did not lose hope, knowing that his father, Marlin, would surely look for him. Indeed, Marlin searched for Nemo. As he looked for his son he met Dory, a forgetful but optimistic fish, who told Marlin that she actually saw Nemo. When Marlin asked her where Nemo went, Dory answered, “Follow me!” and Marlin did. After sometime, Dory noticed that Marlin was following him so she asked him, “Why are you following me?” Exasperated Marlin answered, “You told me to follow you.” Thus began the relationship between Marlin and Dory and their quest to find Nemo. It all started with a simple invitation: Follow me.

In our day-to-day life, we hear many voices that invite us to follow them. Some of the voices are familiar, but from time to time there are also new voices in the horizon. But which of these many voices should we listen to? Which of them knows what is good for us?

In the gospel today, Jesus told His disciples that, indeed, there will be many who will pretend that they are “shepherds” but there is only one who is good. A good shepherd is the one who knows his sheep and the one whose voice the sheep will easily recognize. A good shepherd has a good relationship with his sheep; he knows them and they know him.

Shepherding is not limited to people who serve the Church. Just like the story of Nemo, Marlin was also a good shepherd looking for his lost son. Dory, who became a friend and companion, became a good shepherd to Marlin and Nemo. Each one of us is called to become a shepherd and today we received from Jesus the criteria on how to become a good one. (Fr. Kaloi Macatangga, SVD Bible Diary 2009

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April 18, 2016 Monday

Archbishop Dom Helder Camara (Recife, Brazil) shocked his host, a rich landowner, when he refused an invitation to sleep in this person’s mansion. He chose to sleep in a chapel nearby owned by the rich man. For him the chapel was there to help the workers accept their subhuman condition.  Religion was being used as the opium of the people (D.H. Camara, The Conversion of a Bishop,1979 ).

Contrary to the spirit of the good shepherd in the gospel, a man can be a thief or a robber, if he enriches himself out of others’ misery. The presence of thieves and robbers necessitates a good shepherd. For Camara, a pastor in the Church must be reflective of Christ the good shepherd. Christ bears on his shoulders as he walks in today’s roads the underdeveloped world, underdeveloped people, the poor, the voiceless (D.H. Camara, The Church and Colonialsm, 1969). Development work led him to go beyond charitable acts but made him engage in social justice. Here, helping the poor to be agents of change was highlighted. Camara as a shepherd encountered various near death experiences: his house was sprayed with machine gun re, killing those associated with him.

In fact, a hired assassin was sent to his house, knocking on his door. At the sight of the frail and diminutive bishop who identified himself, the man refused to kill. “I can’t kill you.” he said “You are the Lord’s.”( R. Ellsberg, All Saints, 1997 ).

Do we have a life that promotes action towards the poor, to the frail and the diminutive people around us? Christ the Good Shepherd is in us disturbing our conscience. Have we acted from that conscience? Let us not desire to be carried always on the shoulders of the good shepherd. We must be shepherds: instruments or enhancers of integral human development. (Fr. Martin I. Mandin, SVD | St. Arnold Janssen Parish Shrine, Cainta Rizal Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/598-april-18-2016-monday

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SIN IS SHORTSHIGTEDNESS: Today I offer you two Latin words – pecus and pecatum. Pecus means sheep and pecatum means sin. There is something common to sheep and sin: shortsightedness.

The shepherd has to call the sheep by name because the sheep had very poor eyesight. It can happen that a sheep while walking will suddenly fall into a hole because it cannot see beyond its nose. The sheep relies only on the shepherd’s voice for direction.

Sin, on the other hand, is the effect of shortsightedness. We are shortsighted when we look at the pleasure we can get from temptation. When we look at the money and popularity we can get if we cheat and take advantage of other people.

We do not look at the total picture. We look out for our gratification now. We choose to forget about everything else. And this is how to commit sin. We just forget about eternal life. We forget that God sees us. We succumb to our shortsightedness. And like the sheep, we can suddenly fall into a hole and not know what hit us.

The second common thing between pecus and pecatum is that both their shortsightedness can be cured by listening to a voice. The shepherd’s voice is a cure for the sheep’s shortsightedness. By listening to the shepherd’s voice the sheep need not go astray or plunge into a ravine. The shortsightedness of man, which can lead him to sin, can also be prevented by his listening to the Lord’s voice.

Today, we ask the Lord to make us the kind of sheep who truly listen. Perhaps we were born, thinking only of the pleasures of the moment. Perhaps we were born with myopia, we are narrow-minded, Perhaps, we were born with myopia, we are narrow-minded, we are shortsighted. But even if we are shortsighted, we are not desperate. We can still hope, if we listen to the shepherd’s voice.

The sheep is shortsighted. Committing sin is being shortsighted. The sheep is protected from danger when it listens to the shepherd’s voice. Sin will be prevented from ruining us if we listen to the voice of God and if we allow his every word ring loud and clear in our hearts. Let us listen to the voice of God. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus, pp. 69-70)

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My Reflection for Monday May 12, Fourth Week of Easter; John 10:11-18 – Reflection: In the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15:1-7), the shepherd left the ninety nine sheep that was in his care so that he could look for the lost sheep. And when he found the lost sheep he lovingly carried it home on his shoulder.

Jesus in our gospel tells us that He is our good shepherd that will give His very life for us so that he could find and save us. What have we done to merit this infinite love from Jesus? Nothing, we have even offended Jesus for countless times that we think that we are not anymore deserving of His infinite love. But Jesus our good shepherd loves us so dearly that He would always look for us to bring us back again to His fold.

We will sin for as long as we live in this world but the infinite love of Jesus our good shepherd will always be there for us. Let us therefore not be deaf to His longing for us. He wants us back to His fold, He wants us back to personally take care of us and He wants us back to personally forgive us of our sinfulness no matter how severe.

Let us hear now the voice of Jesus our Good Shepherd who patiently calls us to walk away from our many sins.  (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/05/my-reflection-for-monday-may-12-fourth.html

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Reflection for April 27, Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter; John 10:1-10 Reflection: Do you consider yourself a good shepherd? Each and every one of us is a shepherd in our own little way. For example, if you are a parent, you have your own children to shepherd or guide. What kind of shepherd are you to your children?

Are you a good shepherd to them? Have you taught them already about our faith? Do you bring them to church for Holy Mass? Have you opened the bible to them and taught them about the life of Jesus? The model shepherd is Jesus, he is the one whom we should imitate.

Jesus tells us in the gospel: I am the gate for the sheep (John 10:7). Do we shepherd our own respective families going to Jesus? Or we instead lead them away from Jesus by exposing them to materialism?

Who is the gate that Jesus mentions to us in the gospel? The gate is Jesus Himself! He is the good shepherd for He gave His very life for us. He established the church for us and He instituted the Eucharist for us His sheep.

Let us reflect on how we have been shepherding those who are under our care and guidance.  Are we good shepherds to them like Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

mjdasma.blogspot.com/2015/04/reflection-for-april-27-monday-of.html

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THE SPIRIT OF ASSISI: “I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice.” – John 10:16

It was 1986. Eastern Europe was under the Soviet Union, with its arsenal of nuclear weapons still targeting the West. Pope John Paul II, in a landmark event, brought together 160 religious leaders from all over the world with one common goal: to pray for peace.

For the first time in history, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and representatives of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, African and North American animism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism and Baha’i, convened in Assisi. According to the Pope, they were there “to witness before the world, each according to his own conviction, about the transcendent quality of peace.”

What an achievement! I love the Pope’s clear conviction that “peace bears the name of Jesus Christ” and that the Catholic Church is the first witness of faith in Him, yet still shows deep love and respect for other religions. He believes that “every authentic prayer is called forth by the Holy Spirit, who is mysteriously present in the heart of every person.”

May we follow his example and respond to his message: “Let us continue to spread the message of peace. Let us continue to live the spirit of Assisi.” Cecil Lim (cez_lim@yahoo.com)

Reflection: “Every quest of the human spirit for truth and goodness, and in the last analysis, for God, is inspired by the Holy Spirit.” (Blessed Pope John Paul II)

Spirit of truth and love, guide us on the paths of proclaming Jesus Christ.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-12

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1ST READING: The nature of the Gospel demanded changes in the mindset of the Jews. Previously the Jewish faith was exclusivist, that is, God was only concerned with them. The Gospel of Jesus changes this as the gift of salvation is open to all who have faith in Him. This change in mindset is difficult for the Jews to accept and the Church struggles with it for the best part of a few decades. Acts 11:1-18

GOSPEL: Jesus affirms that He loves both the sheep of His fold (the Jews) and the sheep of other folds (the Gentiles). Let us pray for the grace to realize that God may not send us to share the Gospel with a limited portion of humanity but that He wants us to evangelize everyone with the Good News. This is the beauty of having a God whose love is infinite — we do not have to worry about whether or not we are called because we know that He calls all people unto Himself. John 10:11-18 (or John 10:1-10)

think: The gift of salvation is open to all who have faith in Jesus.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-12

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CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD SHEPHERD: As I write this reflection, we have had a new pope for about a month. In that short span of time, Pope Francis has surprised us with his ability and willingness to engage all who are willing to engage with him. Herein lies what I think will be one of the lasting legacies of his papacy. He will be remembered for his ability and willingness to listen and then to act pastorally on what he has heard. His theology is similar to that of Benedict XVI; however, his pastoral manner is much simpler and perhaps more empathetic, both visually and in practice. Each man has his gifts and this is the gift that Francis brings to his leadership of the Church.

The agenda of Vatican II was to call the Church back to its roots so that it can better engage with the world in a dialogue and, thus, enable it to bear witness to the Gospel truths and call forth the gift of conversion among the People of God. Pope Francis seems to be shepherding the Church in this very direction as he calls for consistency between both the faith as we understand it and the faith as we live and express it. Traditionally speaking, his call is for both the fides qua (the personal act of faith, the faith with which I or we believe) and fides quae (the doctrinal content that I or we believe) to be in lockstep with one another.

This is critical both from a leadership point of view and from the standpoint of effective evangelization. Pope Francis is demonstrating a return to the idea that faith is all about the relationships that it nourishes and not just about doctrinal practice or purity. Yes, the latter is important, essential even, but without the lived experience and witness, it is all words and will be ineffective in convincing people that the doctrines of the Church actually reflect the truth as God wants us to live it.

Let us all join with Pope Francis in strengthening the relationships we have so that we will be more secure in our faith and be more effective in witnessing to it. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL

REFLECTION QUESTIONS: How strong is your faith relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? Are there things that you can do to strengthen these relationships?

Holy Spirit, lead me to deepen my relationship with the Trinity. I want to draw the fullness of life that You offer me through the gift of Your grace.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2014-05-12

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DON’T LET HIM WIN – The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. – John 10:10

Has this ever happened to you? Just when you shared an answered prayer about having good health, the next day you get the flu virus. Or when you prayed and claimed for a promotion at work, someone else gets it. Or after experiencing God’s love and peace at Mass or at The Feast, you suddenly have a conflict with a family member.

During one of the sessions of the Hunger Club, an informal young women’s Bible sharing group, Kerygma editor-in-chief Rissa Kawpeng discussed about spiritual warfare. We have to “put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11) because “the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).

When we’re happy with God, I honestly think that the enemy is so pissed that he’ll do anything to steal that joy. He’ll hit us right at our weakest spot. He’ll plant a seed of doubt to a declaration we’ve made. He’ll use people close to us to make us feel unworthy and a failure.

Will you allow the enemy to steal the joy and peace that God has placed in your heart? As for me, I won’t let him win. Ever. Lala Dela Cruz (bella.delacruz@gmail.com)

Reflection: “In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16)

Dear God, strengthen our faith so that we can stand against the work of the enemy and that we’ll live the abundant life You have promised.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-04-27

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REJOICING IN THE FULL MEASURE OF GOD’S GRACE –

Our opening prayer asks God to “bring us to rejoice in the full measure of [His] grace.” We humans love to give in half measures. When we play, we wouldn’t even give an inch to our opponent. We weigh. We calculate what we give and count the potential returns of our largesse. But we expect God, and ask God, to bring us to rejoicing to the full.

I heard about the story of a Protestant couple who risked their lives to help Catholic victims during the Second World War in Poland. When the couple also died, the people asked their pastor if they could be buried in the Catholic cemetery. The pastor refused. So, out of obedience, they buried the couple closest to the boundaries of the Catholic cemetery, near the fence. During the night, the people went back to the cemetery and did something unthinkable. They moved the fence to include the lovely and lovable couple within the confines of the Catholic cemetery.

Peter was facing a brewing controversy. Believers who were not originally Jewish were getting cozy with observant Jews. They complained to Peter. Peter patiently taught them and convinced them to allow the non- Jewish converts to also rejoice in the full measure of God’s grace, without bias, without borders, without resentment.

We humans can be too focused on doing the right things but miss out on the need to do them rightly. Last year, Pope Francis surprised us with a fresh wisp of pastoral charity. He alluded, in Evangelii Gaudium, to what he calls “diagnostic overload,” which to my mind means remaining in the state of paralysis (or inaction) due to endless analysis.

Come on, fellow believer. “Athirst is my soul for the living God.” And so is everyone else. All men and women are called to the glorious liberty of God’s children. Who are we to deny that “God has granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too?” Fr. Chito Dimaranan, SDB

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you often hold back in doing things right by the need to follow prescribed rules?

Grant me wisdom, Lord, to know how to do things rightly in every situation I find myself in.

kerygmafamily.com/modules/dailyreadings/read.php?date=2015-04-27

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MONDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK OF EASTER (YEAR B) – JUAN 10:1-10. KANG KINSA MANG TINGOG ANG ATONG GIPAMINAW MATAG KARON UG UNYA? Ning modernong panahon daghan kaayong tingog ang atong madungog. Anaa ang tingog sa “materyalismo” nga mag-agni kanato sa pagkalaog sa mga kalibotanong butang; anaa ang tingog sa “secularismo” nga magdani kanato sa pagbiya sa mga espirituhanong kamatuoran; anaa ang tingog sa “liberalismo” nga magdasig kanato sa pagbuhat bisan unsay atong gusto bisan kon sayop; ug uban pa. Ang ebanghelyo magpahinumdum kanato nga kita mga karnero sa Dios ug si Kristo mao ang atong Maayong Magbalantay. Aron dili kita mahisalaag, ang tingog nga angay natong paminawon sa kanunay mao ang tingog ni Kristo, dili ang tingog sa kalibotan. Adunay nagtambag: “If you can’t hear the voice of God, turn off the world’s volume.” Posted by Abet Uy

(English) John 10: 1-10. EITHER TO WHOM THE VOICE we hear from time to time? The modern era many voices we hear. Is the voice of “materialism” that convinces us pagkalaog worldly matters; is the voice of “secularismo” that draws us to leave the spiritual truth; is the voice of “liberalism” that encourages us to do whatever we want, even if it was wrong; and others. The gospel reminds us that we are the sheep of God and Christ is our Good Shepherd. Lest we err, the voice that we must always listen to the voice of Christ, not the voice of the world. There advises: “If you can not hear the voice of God, turn off the world’s volume.” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/04/monday-of-4th-week-of-easter-year-b.html

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April 26, 2015 – “THIS IS BECAUSE HE (HIRED MAN) WORKS FOR PAY AND HAS NO CONCERN FORN THE SHEEP,” (JOHN 10:11-18). Nowadays it’s difficult to find someone who is willing to “shepherd” somebody without pay. Even the word “service” – connotes payment. “Concern” cannot be paid. Serve with concern. Expect no payment (Fr. Ching, OP)

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Going Through the Gate

April 27, 2015 (readings)

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Father Steven Reilly, LC

John 10:1-10

Jesus said: “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. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe that you are here with me. This time with you now in prayer is the most important time in my day. I know that you have prepared many graces for me. I wish to take advantage of them with grateful fervor.

Petition: Lord, help me to go through the gate! May I hear no other voices but yours!

  1. Jesus Is the Gate:We all want to be happy. There is no one on the face of the planet who would consciously choose to be frustrated and miserable. Yet how is it that so many people unconsciously choose to be, or are missing the boat on what really makes life worthwhile? Jesus is the gate! If we truly want to fulfill our deepest human aspirations, we have to know and love Jesus Christ. As long as Jesus is second to anything or anyone in our life, we have not fully passed through the gate. Taking the plunge and truly passing through the gate is the best decision we could ever make.
  2. The Voice of Strangers:If we don’t go through the gate, we are vulnerable. Those who are not fully committed may find the offers of strangers quite enticing. But Christ’s sheep reject those voices out of fidelity to their Shepherd. Perseverance in our Catholic faith and our Catholic lifestyle requires a constant effort to refocus on the Lord. Even if we are besieged by a cacophony of competing voices, the voice of the Lord will always rise above that din. We must be faithful. Our prayer life is the privileged place to screen out the noise and truly hear Christ, which is why our prayer is the most important time of the day. How vibrant is my prayer life?
  3. Abundant Life:The effort to go through the gate and to listen only to the voice of the Good Shepherd pays abundant dividends. “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” What is that life like? Put simply, there’s nothing like it. The abundant life that Christ gives us is the indwelling presence of the Holy Trinity in one’s soul. It is the love that envelops authentically Christian homes and communities. It is the peace that comes from a conscience that has experienced forgiveness and is committed to living in the truth. What could anyone give us that can possibly compare to all of this?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I thank you for this time we have spent together. Many times I have allowed other voices to distract me from yours. I pledge to walk the path of fidelity to you. Grant me the grace to persevere always and to give others an example to help them through the gate.

Resolution: I will reach out to a relative who is estranged from the Church, reflecting some of the love of Christ the Good Shepherd with hopes it will direct him or her to the gate.

epriest.com/reflections/view/371

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THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER

Monday, April 18

Acts 11:1-18; Jn 10:1-10

The Door

As we try to enter through a door many a times we are confused by the inscription on the door.  On some doors we find the writing “push” and on others we find the inscription “pull”. If we are strangers and are in a hurry we may pull the door instead of pushing it and other times we may push it instead of pulling it. In both the instances the door may not obey but resist with a crude voice. This shows that we are strangers and not owners used to the door. The strangers fail to open and close the door spontaneously. They stumble and fumble at the door. But the owner knows the functioning of the door. Hence those who are inside the house too can recognize the incomer from his actions.

Similar is the case with the sheep and the shepherds. The sheep recognizes the thieves and bandits by the manner they enter the sheepfold. The thief does not know the sheep but enters to scatter, kill and destroy them. The shepherd enters to feed and care for the sheep. The sheep recognizes the voice produced by the shepherd. The shepherds know the door, the sheep and the sheepfold.

In the gospel Jesus says I am the door of the sheep. It means Jesus is the true Messiah, the promised savior, Christ, Son of God.  Those who enter through him will attain salvation and eternal life. The false messiahs and prophets preceded him were thieves and bandits. The Scripture presents the Pharisees and Sadducees as false shepherds who do not care for the lost sheep. Before Jesus there were also many national liberators and insurrectionists who claimed to be messiahs and caused damages and destruction to the political authorities. They could not save Israel, the folk of God. Jesus came to the world to save them who were like sheep without a shepherd.

The text has instruction for the sheep and shepherds. The sheep has to be watchful to recognize the voice of the shepherd and strangers. They should be careful not to follow the thieves and robbers whose voices are strange to them and whose admonitions are false. As God’s folk they should recognize Jesus as the gate leading to salvation. As shepherds the pastors should fulfill their role as the watchmen for God’s people. They should seek the lost, cure the wounded and carry the lame. They should care for them leading them out and bringing them in.

Jesus is the good shepherd who herds, guards and tends the sheep. He feeds the flock; he gathers the lambs in his arms, carries them in his bosom and will gently lead those that have their young. He supplies for them living water, bread of life and good pastures of eternal salvation. Let us follow him and hear his voices so that we may be saved. He has come so that we may have life and to have it abundantly. Dr. Sebastian Mulluparambil CMI

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-04-18

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 REFLECTION: In his all-time best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie writes: “We should be aware of the magic contained in a name… A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.“ Why is this? Because our name sets us apart as individuals, it makes us unique among all others. Not surprisingly, many times in the Bible God states that he is calling people by their name (Gen 35:10; Ex 33:12; Is 41:25; 43:1; 45:3; 49:1). The reason for this is simply that God is always eager to establish with us a personalized relationship. God does not save groups. He saves Jane and Tom and Judy and Mike. This is what Jesus hints at in today’s gospel reading when he states that the good Shepherd “calls each of his sheep by name.” This is because he wants to touch our hearts and to win our love. By calling each one of us by name, he tells us that each one of us is unique in his eyes, irreplaceable. How shall we respond to this kind of naked love and devotion?

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3507-april-18-2016

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 4th Week of Easter

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