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Fourth Sunday of Easter — April 21, 2024

Bishop’s Reflections

April 21, 2024

Every Sunday, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click HERE for the readings.

Fourth Sunday of Easter — April 21, 2024

This Sunday is typically called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the Gospel of this Fourth Sunday of Easter always focuses on the protective, strong, and self-sacrificing leadership of Jesus. He says it himself, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

Jesus laid down his life for us on the cross. He also gathers his faithful flock together around his cross. He said it elsewhere, “When I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself.” We recognize our true Shepherd, Jesus, when we contemplate the sacrifice he would make in order to gather us together, even dying for us. I think of the crozier that Pope St. John Paul II used for his pastoral staff which was topped by the crucified Christ. St. Paul was only able to get people to listen to his message when he began to proclaim Christ and Christ crucified. Although many people may be willing to die for God, we have a God who is willing to die for us. That’s incredible!

Jesus also says that he will protect us from the wolves. The wolves are those who want to destroy the shepherd and scatter the sheep. Anyone who seeks to foster division among the flock is considered a wolf. In the face of this, Jesus prays that we all be one and he promises that there will be “one flock, one shepherd.” This oneness is an important mark of the Catholic Church, after all.

Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.” He calls us by name and when he calls, we must follow, because Jesus gathers while others scatter. Jesus leads us to green pastures, while others seek to lead us to places that are not so life-giving. Jesus is the Good Shepherd whose voice we must always hear, who’s cross we must always gather around, and who’s lead we must always take. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Have a blessed week everyone.

P.S. We also celebrate the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations on Good Shepherd Sunday. We are all asked to pray for more vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life and are encouraged to build a “culture of vocations” in our parishes, schools, and homes. Let’s encourage our young to hear the call of Jesus in their lives and have the courage to follow it in whatever he asks of them. And may the Lord send more laborers into the vineyard for a great harvest of souls.

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