Acts of the Apostles 13:14, 43-52
Book of Revelation 7:9, 14b-17
Gospel According to John 10:27-30
by Sister Dorothy Jean Beyer
This Fourth Sunday of Easter is also called Good Shepherd Sunday, because of the readings. This theme is also reflected in the Opening Collect of the Mass: “Almighty ever-living God, lead us to share in the joys of heaven, so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before.”
Notice the adjective describing flock: humble. What a challenging adjective to live up to as God’s people! Being humble calls us to be listeners to Jesus’ voice and to follow willingly and obediently. It also means that we know Jesus’ voice when we hear it and respond with antecedent surrender. Antecedent obedience is what Mary had. Her obedience was pre-existing before the angel asked her to be the Mother of God. Striving for that antecedent disposition is definitely challenging, but worth having in the spiritual life. Perhaps this week, take some time in prayer and reflect on the word, “antecedent” in your life. Is it there? How can I practice it? Let us pray for that predisposition to say “Yes” to God, surrendering humbly and open-heartedly.
The next phrase in the Collect is beautiful: “where the brave Shepherd has gone before.” Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb, the One who gave His life, promises that He will lead “His sheep” to “springs of life-giving” waters of Baptism and to eternal life. He will “wipe away every tear from our eyes.” We know that life can be hard at times, but we have Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who has overcome death and leads us to share in the joys of heaven. When you are going through some difficult times, rely on Jesus who shelters you and loves you unconditionally. “The Lord is good: His kindness endures forever, and His faithfulness, to all generations.” (Responsorial Psalm 100) This is our Good Shepherd.” Let us follow Him humbly.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“The abbot/prioress must always remember what he/she is and remember what he/she is called, aware that more will be expected of him/her to whom more has been entrusted.” RB 2:30
“I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.” John 10:14