Word for the Week
Sunday, May 7, 2017 Fourth Sunday of Easter Introduction
Today is sometimes called “Good Shepherd Sunday.” Jesus is called the “gate” of the sheep in today’s gospel. The risen Christ opens the way to abundant life. He anoints our heads with oil and guides us beside the still waters of our baptism. Each Sunday he spreads a feast before us in the midst of the world’s violence and war. We go forth to be signs of the resurrection and extend God’s tender care to all creation.
Prayer of the Day
O God our shepherd, you know your sheep by name and lead us to safety through the valleys of death. Guide us by your voice, that we may walk in certainty and security to the joyous feast prepared in your house, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Acts 2:42-47
Today’s reading is a description of life in the community following Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was outpoured on God’s people. This new community is founded on the teachings of the apostles and sustained in the breaking of the bread.
Psalm: Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. (Ps. 23:1)
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:19-25
Doing the right things does not guarantee that one will not experience difficulties, hardships, rejection, or even suffering. Here Christ is presented as the model for our path of endurance and loyalty to God, particularly in the midst of adversity.
Gospel: John 10:1-10
Jesus uses an image familiar to the people of his day to make a point about spiritual leadership. Good shepherds bring people to life through Jesus, but those who avoid Jesus are dangerous to the flock.
Theme for the Easter season (April 16th – June 4th)
Jesus the Lamb –
endured persecution, suffering, and death on a cross, sacrificing himself for us all
Jesus the Savior –
was raised from the dead, forever breaking the chains of sin and death
Jesus the Shepherd –
calls us, finds us, and leads us back into the fold
God’s abundant love is revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice and triumphant resurrection shatters all chains, opens all doors, and reveals an endless realm of possibilities.
The gate is open!
There is hope in all things. There will always be a light shining in the darkness. No matter how far we stray, we will be led back. No matter how lost we are, the Shepherd will find us. Our fears and doubts and questions no longer have control. Regardless of any danger that surrounds us, we will be protected. We are not alone, and there is nothing we cannot do with Christ by our side.
Rejoice and Be Glad!
God’s love has opened the Gate!