HIS WORD… my words…
Fr. Julius C. Lupot
UST Graduate School
MAY 07, 2017 – FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Cycle A) Good Shepherd Sunday: World Day of Prayer for Vocations READINGS: Acts of the Apostles 2: 14. 36-41 / Psalm 23: 1-3. 3-4. 5. 6 / 1 Peter 2: 20-25 / JOHN 10: 1-10
HIS WORD…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… I CAME SO THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE LIFE AND HAVE IT MORE ABUNDANTLY.
my words…Brothers and Sisters, on the Third Week of Easter we had a comprehensive and very extensive narrative and reflections on the Bread of Life Discourse in John’s Gospel Chapter 6 which vividly points to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Now on this Fourth Sunday of Easter we enter into the reflections on Jesus as the Good Shepherd in John’s gospel Chapter 10 leading His flock to greener pastures which pictures the pastoral responsibility and administration of the Church. Thus the Fourth Sunday of Easter is celebrated as the“Good Shepherd Sunday” and is also celebrated throughout the world as the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations.”
In today’s gospel, we hear the first part of Chapter 10 of John’s gospel which presents Jesus as the Gate of the Sheepfold; meaning, the specific role of the Shepherd as the gate of the sheep when they come into the sheepfold for rest and when they go out for the green pastures. Here Jesus emphasized the leading and protecting roles of the Shepherd aside from knowing hissheep, feeding the sheep, laying down his life for the sheep. As the sheep-gate at night-time, the good shepherd suspends his body at the gateway to protect the whole flock from the attacks of predators; namely, wild animals and thieves and robbers. He is always willing to give his life for the sheep 24/7. His whole life is at stake for the whole flock entrusted to him. Then at daytime, the good shepherd leads the whole flock out of the sheepfold for the greener pasture and feeding. Today, Jesus leads the whole flock in the whole world to eternal pasture.
Brothers and Sisters, this is PASTORAL RESPONSIBILITYin the life and mission of the Church. This is what Pope Francisbeing the Chief Shepherd of the Church wanted for His Bishops and Priests; to be immersed in the life of the sheep when he said, “I want the Bishops and Priests to smell like sheep” (‘amoytupa’), emphasizing the Bishops and Priests’ immersion of their lives among the sheep they are tending to (John Allen, CNN Correspondent, DWS-Tagaytay Golden Jubilee Talk, March 12, 2014). And these PASTORAL RESPONSIBILITIES should be the primary and primordial concern of the Cardinals, the archbishops, the bishops, the parish priests, and the deacons of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis always emphasizes the Good Shepherding roles of the Clergy to the flock entrusted to them.
Brothers and Sisters, in today’s Masses, let us pray for more vocations; more young men and women entering the religious life in order to do the mission and to shepherd God’s flock throughout the whole wide world. Let us also pray in a special way on this day for all our Bishops and Parish Priests that they may continue to be the Good Shepherds of the flock of the Lord…
HAPPY GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY… AND PRAY FOR MORE VOCATIONS…