The 4th Sunday of Easter is often referred to as “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the Gospel every year is that of Jn. 10:1-10, The Good Shepherd’s Discourse. Using two of the most common images in the world of shepherding, the “sheep gate” and the “shepherd,” Jesus alludes these images to Himself. The “Shepherd” image is easy to understand, like a good shepherd, Jesus protects, nourishes, guides, and leads His flock to greener pasture. We rejoice knowing we are under the Blessed care of The Good Shepherd.
The “sheep gate” is in the context of securing the sheep from wild animals and thieves in the evening. In the time of Jesus, shepherds gather their flock into one common sheep enclosure with one single entrance. Literally, the shepherds take turns guarding the sheep by being the sheep gate and keeper, sleeping right within the gate, charged with securing entry and exit to the fold by other shepherds. The sheep gate shepherd” knows whose sheep are in the fold; all shepherds pass through the gate while thieves pass through over the fence. The thieves come only to steal, slaughter, and destroy, but the real shepherds are there to protect and care for the sheep. The voice of the shepherd is also unique, the sheep recognize the voice of their true shepherd. Not only that, the sheep know their shepherd and the shepherd knows his sheep by name. They hear the voice of their shepherd, his voice echo in their ears, like the voice of the Good Shepherd that echoes in the heart of His sheep. It is the gentle and steady voice of a friend, sometimes piercing or penetrating the heart and conscience, it is the voice of the truth, the voice that leads the way, and the voice that leads to life. Jn. 14: 6 “I am the way, truth and the life.” Like the voice of Peter’s spirit filled preaching on Pentecost in the 1st reading. His listeners realized that they are hearing the voice of the Divine Shepherd speaking through Peter, the appointed human shepherd to lead the Church.
If we are faithful sheep, we should hear the voice of our Good Shepherd in this time of the pandemic. We must listen attentively and with all humility, we can hear the voice of the Good Shepherd in Scriptures, in the teachings of the Church, and in the guidance of the wise and true shepherds, and in our daily life with all the opportunities and possibilities.READ MORE
Churches around the world have had to cancel Sunday services because of the coronavirus. In the Vatican, services for Holy Week, the most sacred time of the liturgical year, will exclude the faithful.
The cancelling of church and sporting events has convinced most Americans that something significant is happening; after all, there is nothing more sacred to Americans than religion and sports. The decision to cancel church gatherings was not easy, but it was correct. Religious leaders who don't follow the advice of public health officials are being reckless and immoral by putting their congregants and others at risk. We know that COVID-19 is usually passed through human contact (handshakes and touching), through droplets in the air (sneezes and coughs) or contact with infected surfaces (doors, pews, hymnals). This is not the time to get scrupulous about Sunday obligations or to worry about Sunday collections.READ MORE
The Gospel today has two parts: the apparition of Jesus on the first evening of Easter Sunday, also found in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke with slight variations. The second appearance happened a week later proper only in the Gospel of John. “Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.” (Jn. 20:29) These words are not only intended for the listeners of John but also for us today, who may not believe the testimony of the first witnesses (Disciples), because we have not seen it ourselves.
The disciples received the “Spirit of forgiveness” when Jesus breathed on them, v. 22 “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Like in creation, God breathed on man to give him life. This action means something spiritual happened, the effect of receiving Jesus’ Spirit was immediately obvious, a new found courage and zeal, His disciples possessed, eliminated all their fears. But the greatest effect of conferring His Spirit was His Divine Mercy. Jesus betrayed by Judas and abandoned by His disciples still showed His Divine Mercy to them. Giving them new life, commissioned them to extend His Mercy to others, “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, who sins you retain are retained.” (Jn. 20:23)READ MORE
This year, I am celebrating my fifth Easter with the community of St. Rose with the theme: The Risen Lord is with Us. Once again, we are celebrating the greatest feast of Christendom, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is greater than all other feast, including Christmas. We are saved because our Lord Jesus suffered and died for us. His death was not an ordinary death; it was “the Redemptive Death.” But the whole redemptive act was not limited to His dying, it started the moment He was born, His whole life, death and resurrection. Because without His resurrection, His whole life, suffering and death would be meaningless for our salvation. The resurrection of Jesus marks the crowning of the Father’s salvific work, new life for those whom He saved. It is said to affect the deepest core of our human existence. Why? Because by His resurrection He was transformed into new life, effecting for us a new way of life both here and now and the life to come, opening for us the way to eternal life with His Father. Without His resurrection, death would be an absolute end and there is no hope of an afterlife. Thus, Easter for us my brothers and sisters is not simply professing that Jesus has risen, that He is the Son of God and savior of the world. Easter is professing Him in our hearts, in our lives, living a life professing the Risen Lord is with us. Making His Words our own rule of life, our way of life. Jn. 13:34 “Love one another as I have loved you.” The greatest expression of His love is witnessed in the love we have for one another. He is truly risen.READ MORE