4th Sunday of Easter (A) – Good Shepherd Sunday : 3rd May 2020

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Lord, bless and protect all you have called to the priestly and religious life

4th Sunday of Easter (A) – Good Shepherd Sunday : 3rd May 2020

Acts 2:36-41; Ps. 23(22):1-4, 5,6;
1 Pt. 2:20-25; Jn. 10:1-10 (Ps Wk IV)

Today would normally be the feast of the Apostles Philip and James. But this year it is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The liturgy reminds us of Jesus’ self-acclamation as “the Good Shepherd”.

When we read this assertion against its probable Old Testament prophetic background, [Ezekiel chapter 34], we learn of God displeasure at the failure of the kings of Israel. They were to carry out their missions and duties as the Shepherds of Israel, but they did not fulfil them. God takes back that work to himself; thus Jesus’ reference to himself as the Good Shepherd seems to be tantamount to affirming that he is God: the only one with the ability to be the true shepherd of Israel.

On this Sunday the Church asks us to pray especially for priestly and religious vocations. While we would generally think of this as a prayer for an increase in the number of these vocations, the scandals of sexual abuse of the last several years might well suggest that they be prayers for the holiness and justice of the lives of those dedicated to the priestly and religious life. We pray not only for them and those victims who need healing but also for our very broken and suffering Church.

Father in heaven, in Your merciful kindness, grant that those called to the priesthood and religious life may never betray the trust which the faithful place in them to be models of holiness.

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