Sunday, April 22
Fourth Sunday of Easter
John 10: 11 – 18
“I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father.”
This Sunday is known as Good Shepherd Sunday and the Day the Church sets aside to pray for Vocations. The gospel poses Jesus as the Good Shepherd who cares for the sheep.
In this long passage form the gospel of John, Jesus speaks first to those who already are following Him, already are part of His fold. Describing His action for His flock, he first tells them that he lays down His life for them. This is the ultimate sacrifice. Then He tells them that he takes it up again, a sure acknowledgement of the Resurrection. He then goes onto speak to those not yet a part of His flock. These too will come to know that they are His own.
This Sunday we pray for Vocations for the whole Church, and we pray for ourselves, that we might know and believe in the One Shepherd who brings us to life.