Pastor's Blog - May 3, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter

Every Fourth Sunday of Easter, the Church invites us to think about Jesus as our Good Shepherd, an image of the Lord that is prominent throughout the Bible.  In the Old Testament, God is often portrayed as the “Shepherd” of Israel, the people who enjoyed a special covenant relationship with him.  Indeed, centuries before Christ, the prophet Ezekiel assured the Jews who were being held captive in Babylon that God would eventually replace their unfaithful kings or “shepherds” with a caring, healing, faithful shepherd in the person of the Lord himself.  In a portion of the tenth chapter of St. John’s gospel that we hear this weekend, Jesus first describes himself as ‘’a human gate” through which the sheep go in for safety and protection, and go out to find restful waters and green pastures.  Then Jesus identifies himself in the ensuing verses as the “Good Shepherd” who walks ahead of the sheep, protects them from wild animals and thieves, and is willing to lay down his life for his flock.  Again using imagery from ancient Middle Eastern life, Jesus considers only those who recognize his voice and listen to him as members of his flock, because in first century Palestine, sheep were regarded as defenseless against predators and incapable of finding their own food and water.  So the sheep’s very life depended upon recognizing their shepherd’s voice and responding to his commands.  This Sunday’s responsorial psalm, which is perhaps the most familiar of all the 150 psalms in the Bible, captures this belief in the Good Shepherd in beautiful poetic language: “the Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”  By our baptism as infants, we become like lambs and ewes in the flock of Christ, but if we are to grow into mature sheep and faithfully follow our Good Shepherd, we need to become accustomed to his voice.  Through personal prayer, reading Scripture, participating actively in the mission of our Church, and receiving the sacraments, especially the Body and Blood of Christ at Mass, we can become ever more attuned and responsive to the voice of the Lord, who is always calling us to follow him.

News and Notes:

Please remember, the chapel at Our Lady of the Assumption Church is open for private prayer from 7:00am to 1:30pm every day. Eucharistic Adoration is offered at St. Maria Goretti Church on Wednesdays from 8:30am to 12:00 noon. Please be respectful of social distancing recommendations.