(From the Bulletin of Sts. Joachim and Ann Catholic Church, May 7, 2017)
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Jesus calls himself the "Good Shepherd" as well as the "gate" to eternal life. He is the only way through which we have access to the Father. His listeners were very familiar with the crucial role that shepherds in Israel trained sheep. They would spend hours alone with each lamb, making sure that everyone had a name different from any other in the flock, and would respond only to the voice of the shepherd calling out that name.
In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter is speaking at Pentecost, assuring his listeners that his fellow apostles are not drunk, rather filled with the Holy Spirit. He tells them that, if only they repent of crucifying their Lord and Messiah through their sinfulness, they will be forgiven, Jews and Gentiles alike. If they allow themselves to be baptized, they too will receive the Holy Spirit. Amazingly, about three thousand persons heeded Peter's preaching, and were baptized that day.
The second reading today is taken from another sermon of Peter in which urges his listeners to model their lives on the patience of Jesus who "when he suffered, did not threaten ... He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness."
In the Gospel, Jesus tells us that He and no other is the shepherd of the sheep, the only voice we should recognize and follow. He is also the gate of the sheepfold, welcoming all to freedom from fear, security and assurance of salvation. To complete our meditation, read carefully the 23rd Psalm today, "The Lord is my Shepherd." 0 Lord, help us to silence those voices that would lead us into false paths, and lovingly follow only your voice.
Fr. Louis Kemayou, Pastor