Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Catholic Caucus: Sunday Mass Readings, 05-11-14, Fourth Sunday of Easter
USCCB.org/RNAB ^ | 05-11-14 | Revised New American Bible

Posted on 05/10/2014 10:36:03 PM PDT by Salvation

May 11, 2014

Fourth Sunday of Easter

 

 

Reading 1 Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 23:1-2a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R/  (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R/  Alleluia.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R/  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R/  Alleluia.
He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R/  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R/  Alleluia.
You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R/  The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R/  Alleluia.
Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
or:
R/  Alleluia.

reading 2 1 Pt 2:20b-25

Beloved:
If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

Gospel Jn 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”



TOPICS: Catholic; General Discusssion; Prayer; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholic; easter; prayer
For your reading, reflection, faith-sharing, comments, questions, discussion.

1 posted on 05/10/2014 10:36:04 PM PDT by Salvation
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nickcarraway; NYer; ELS; Pyro7480; livius; ArrogantBustard; Catholicguy; RobbyS; marshmallow; ...
Alleluia Ping

Please FReepmail me to get on/off the Alleluia Ping List.


2 posted on 05/10/2014 10:36:45 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

From: Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Peter’s Address (Continuation)


[14a] But Peter, standing with the Eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them,
[36] “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made Him
both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Many Baptisms


[37] Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and
the rest of the Apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” [38] And Peter said to
them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [39]
For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off, every one
whom the Lord our God calls to Him.” [40] And he testified with many other words
and exhorted them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” [41]
So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day a-
bout three thousand souls.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

14. In his commentaries St. John Chrysostom draws attention to the change
worked in Peter by the Holy Spirit: “Listen to him preach and argue so boldly,
who shortly before had trembled at the word of a servant girl! This boldness is a
significant proof of the resurrection of his Master: Peter preaches to men who
mock and laugh at his enthusiasm. [...] Calumny (’they are filled with new wine’)
does not deter the Apostles; sarcasm does not undermine their courage, for the
coming of the Holy Spirit has made new men of them, men who can put up with
every kind of human test. When the Holy Spirit enters into hearts He does so to
elevate their affections and to change earthly souls, souls of clay, into chosen
souls, people of great courage [...]. Look at the harmony that exists among the
Apostles. See how they allow Peter to speak on behalf of them all. Peter raises
his voice and speaks to the people with full assurance. That is the kind of cou-
rage a man has when he is the instrument of the Holy Spirit. [...] Just as a bur-
ning coal does not lose heat when it falls on a haystack but instead is enabled
to release its heat, so Peter, now that he is in contact with the life-giving Spirit,
spreads his inner fire to those around him” (”Hom. on Acts”, 4).

36. During His life on earth Jesus had often presented Himself as the Messiah
and Son of God. His resurrection and ascension into Heaven reveal Him as
such to the people at large.

In Peter’s address we can see an outline of the content of the apostolic procla-
mation (”kerygma”), the content of Christian preaching, the object of faith. This
proclamation bears witness to Christ’s death and resurrection and subsequent
exaltation; it recalls the main points of Jesus’ mission, announced by John the
Baptist, confirmed by miracles and brought to fulfillment by the appearances of
the risen Lord and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; it declares that the messia-
nic time predicted by the prophets have arrived, and calls all men to conversion,
in preparation for the Parousia or second coming of Christ in glory.

37. St. Peter’s words were the instrument used by God’s grace to move the
hearts of his listeners: they are so impressed that they ask in all simplicity what
they should do. Peter exhorts them to be converted, to repent (cf. note on 3:19).
The “St. Pius V Catechism” explains that in order to receive Baptism adults
“need to repent the sins they have committed and their evil past life and to be
resolved not to commit sin henceforth [...], for nothing is more opposed to grace
and power of Baptism than the outlook and disposition of those who never decide
to abjure sin” (II, 2, 4).

38. “Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ”: this does not necessarily mean
that this was the form of words the Apostles normally used in the liturgy, rather
than [the] Trinitarian formula prescribed by Jesus. In the “Didache” (written a-
round the year 100) it is stated that Baptism should be given in the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, but this does not prevent it, in other
passages, from referring to “those baptized in the name of the Lord.” The expres-
sion “baptized in the name of Christ” means, therefore, becoming a member of
Christ, becoming a Christian (cf. “Didache”, VII, 1; IX, 5).

“Like the men and women who came up to Peter on Pentecost, we too have
been baptized. In baptism, our Father God has taken possession of our lives,
has made us share in the life of Christ, and has given us the Holy Spirit” (St. J.
Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 128). From this point onwards, the Trinity be-
gins to act in the soul of the baptized person. “In the same way as transparent
bodies, enlightened by the Holy Spirit become spiritual too and lead others to
the light of grace. From the Holy Spirit comes knowledge of future events, un-
derstanding of mysteries and of hidden truths, an outpouring of gifts, Heavenly
citizenship, conversation with angels. From Him comes never-ending joy, per-
severance in good, likeness to God and—the most sublime thing imaginable —
becoming God” (St. Basil, “On the Holy Spirit”, IX, 23).

This divinization which occurs in the baptized person shows how important it is
for Christians to cultivate the Holy Spirit who has been infused into their souls,
where He dwells as long as He is not driven out by sin. “Love the Third Person
of the Blessed Trinity. Listen in the intimacy of your being to the divine motions
of encouragement or reproach you receive from Him. Walk through the earth in
the light that is poured out in your soul. [...] We can apply to ourselves the ques-
tion asked by the Apostle: ‘Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that
God’s Spirit dwells in you?’ (1 Corinthians 3:16). And we can understand it as
an invitation to deal with God in a more personal and direct manner. For some,
unfortunately, the Paraclete is the Great Stranger. He is merely a name that is
mentioned, but not Someone—not one of the three Persons in the one God—with
whom we can talk and with whose life we can live. No: we have to deal with Him
simply and trustingly, as we are taught by the Church in its liturgy. Then we will
come to know our Lord better, and at the same time, we will realize more fully
the great favor that was granted us when we became Christians. We will see the
greatness and truth of this divinization, which is a sharing in God’s own life” (St.
J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 133-134).

39. The “promise” of the Holy Spirit applies to both Jews and Gentiles, but in the
first instance it concerns the Jews: it is they to whom God entrusted His oracles;
theirs was the privilege to receive the Old Testament and to be preached to di-
rectly by Jesus Himself. St. Peter makes it clear that this promise is also made
“to all that are far off”—a reference to the Gentiles, as St. Paul explains (cf. Ephe-
sians 2:13-17) and in line with Isaiah’s announcement, “Peace, peace to the far
and to the near” (Isaiah 57:19). Cf. Acts 22:21.

40. “This crooked generation” is not only that part of the Jewish people who re-
jected Christ and His teaching, but everyone who is estranged from God (cf.
Deuteronomy 32:5; Philippians 2:5).

41. St. Luke here concludes his account of the events of the day of Pentecost
and prepares to move on to a new topic. Before he does so he adds a note, as
it were, to say that “about three thousand souls” became Christians as a result
of Peter’s address.

St. Luke often makes reference to the numerical growth of the Church (2:47; 4:4;
5:14; 6:1, 7; 9:31; 11:21, 24; 16:5). Interesting in itself, this growth clearly shows
the effectiveness of the Gospel message boldly proclaimed by the Apostles. It
proves that if the Gospel is preached with constancy and clarity it can take root
in any setting and will always find men and women ready to receive it and put it
into practice.

“It is not true that everyone today—in general—is closed or indifferent to what our
Christian faith teaches about man’s being and destiny. It is not true that men in
our time are turned only toward the things of this earth and have forgotten to look
up to Heaven. There is no lack of narrow ideologies, it is true, or of persons who
maintain them. But in our time we find both great desires and base attitudes, he-
roism and cowardice, zeal and disenchantment—people who dream of a new
world, more just and more human, and others who, discouraged perhaps by the
failure of their youthful idealism, take refuge in the selfishness of seeking only
their own security or remaining immersed in their errors.

“To all those men and women, wherever they may be, in their more exalted mo-
ments of in their crises and defeats, we have to bring the solemn and unequivo-
cal message of St. Peter in the days that followed Pentecost: Jesus is the cor-
nerstone, the Redeemer, the hope of our lives. ‘For there is no other name under
Heaven given among men by which we must be saved’ (Acts 4:12)” (St. J.
Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 132).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 05/10/2014 10:37:22 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: All

From: 1 Peter 2b:20-25

Duties Towards Masters—Christ’s Example


[20b] [Beloved}: if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you
have God’s approval. [21] For to this you have been called, because Christ al-
so suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
[22] He committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. [23] When He was
reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but
He trusted to Him who judges justly. [24] He Himself bore our sins in His body
on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds
you have been healed. [25] For you were straying like sheep, but have now re-
turned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

18-25. The sacred writer now addresses all domestic servants (the Greek word
means all who work in household tasks). He exhorts them to obey their masters,
even if they are harsh (verse 18), because God is pleased if they put up with un-
fairness for His sake (verses 19-20); in doing so they are imitating the example
of Jesus (verses 21-25). St. Paul, when addressing slaves in his letters (cf. Ephe-
sians 5:5-9; Colossians 3:22-24), never encourages them to rebel. Christian tea-
ching on social issues is not based on class struggle but on fraternal love: love
eventually does away with all discrimination, for all men have created in the im-
age of God and are equal in His sight. This peaceable policy gradually made for
the suppression of slavery, and it will also lead to the solution of all social prob-
lems (cf. “Gaudium Et Spes”, 29).

The fact that St. Peter addresses only servants and does not go on to say any-
thing to masters (as St. Paul usually does: cf. Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:
23ff) has led some commentators to suggest that most of the Christians addres-
sed in this letter must have been people of humble condition.

21-25. This passage is a beautiful hymn to Christ on the cross. Christ’s suffe-
rings, which fulfill the prophecies about the Servant of Yahweh contained in the
Book of Isaiah (52:13-53:12), have not been in vain, for they have a redemptive
value. He has taken our sins upon Himself and brought them with Him on the
cross, offering Himself as an atoning sacrifice. This means that we are free of
our sins (”dead to sin”) and can live “to righteousness”, that is, can live for holi-
ness with the help of grace.

The example of the suffering of Christ is always a necessary reference point for
Christians: however great the trials they experience, they will never be as great
or as unjust as those of our Lord. Reflecting on Christ’s suffering led St. Bernard
to comment: “I have come to see that true wisdom lies in meditating on these
things [...]. Some have provided me with wholesome, if bitter, drink, and I have
used others as gentle and soothing unction. This gives me strength in adversity
and helps me to be humble in prosperity; it allows me to walk with a sure step
on the royal road of salvation, through the good things and the evil things of this
present life, free from the dangers which threaten to right and left” (”Sermons on
the Song of Songs”, 43, 4).

25. The messianic prophecy about the Servant of Yahweh includes the image
of the scattered flock (cf. Isaiah 53:6), to which Jesus alludes in His allegory of
the Good Shepherd (cf. John 10:11-16). St. Peter, to whom our Lord had given
charge of His flock (cf. John 21:15-19), would have had a special liking for ima-
gery connected with shepherding.

Jesus Christ is “the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” and “the chief Shep-
herd” (1 Peter 5:4). The etymology of the Greek word—”episcopos” (guardian) —
means “overseer”; the word was used in civic life to designate those who were
responsible for seeing that the law was kept. In the Dead Sea manuscripts the
Hebrew equivalent (”mebaqqer”) is used to designate the religious leaders of
the schismatic community of Qumran. Whatever might be the origin of the term,
in the New Testament the word “episcopos” (bishop) is often used to mean the
pastor of the Church (cf., e.g., Acts 20:28; see the note on 1 Peter 5:1-4). Here
St. Peter applies to Christ the words the prophet Ezekiel places on the lips of
God: “I will seek out My sheep and I will rescue them from all places where they
have been scattered” (Ezekiel 34:12). Our Lord founded the Church as a sheep-
fold “whose sheep, although watched over by human shepherds, are neverthe-
less at all times led and brought to pasture by Christ Himself, the Good Shep-
herd and prince of shepherds (cf. John 10:11; 1 Peter 5:4), who gave His life for
His sheep (cf. John 10:11-16)” (Vatican II, “Lumen Gentium”, 6).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


4 posted on 05/10/2014 10:37:58 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: All

From: John 10:1-10

The Good Shepherd


[Jesus said to the Pharisees,] [1] “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not
enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief
and a robber; [2] but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
[3] To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own
sheep by name and leads them out. [4] When he has brought out all his own, he
goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. [5] A stran-
ger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice
of strangers.” [6] This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand
what He was saying to them.

[7] So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the
sheep. [8] All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did
not heed them. [9] I am the door; if any one enters by Me, he will be saved, and
will go in and out and find pasture. [10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and
destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-18. The image of the Good Shepherd recalls a favorite theme of Old Testament
prophetic literature: the chosen people is the flock, and Yahweh is their shepherd
(cf. Psalm 23). Kings and priests are also described as shepherds or pastors.
Jeremiah inveighs against those pastors who had let their sheep go astray and
in God’s name promises new pastors who will graze their flocks properly so that
they will never again be harassed or anxious (cf. 23:1-6; also 2:8; 3:15; 10:21;
Isaiah 40:1-11). Ezekiel reproaches pastors for their misdeeds and sloth, their
greed and neglect of their responsibility: Yahweh will take the flock away from
them and He Himself will look after their sheep: indeed, a unique shepherd will
appear, descended from David, who will graze them and protect them (Ezekiel
34). Jesus presents Himself as this shepherd who looks after His sheep, seeks
out the strays, cures the crippled and carries the weak on His shoulders (cf.
Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7), thereby fulfilling the ancient prophecies.

From earliest times, Christian art found its inspiration in this touching image of
the Good Shepherd, thereby leaving us a representation of Christ’s love for each
of us.

In addition to the title of Good Shepherd, Christ applies to Himself the image of
the door into the sheepfold of the Church. “The Church,” Vatican II teaches, “is
a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is Christ (cf. John 10:1-10).
It is also a flock, of which God foretold that He Himself would be the shepherd
(cf. Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:11ff.), and whose sheep, although watched over by
human shepherds, are nevertheless at all times led and brought to pasture by
Christ Himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of shepherds (cf. John 10:11; 1
Peter 5:4), who gave His life for His sheep (cf. John 10:11-15)” (”Lumen Gentium”,
6).

1-2. The flock can be harmed in a subtle, hidden way, or in a blatant way through
abuse of authority. The history of the Church shows that its enemies have used
both methods: sometimes they enter the flock in a secretive way to harm it from
within; sometimes they attack it from outside, openly and violently. “Who is the
good shepherd? ‘He who enters by the door’ of faithfulness to the Church’s doc-
trine and does not act like the hireling ‘who sees the wolf coming and leaves the
sheep and flees’; whereupon ‘the wolf snatches them and scatters them’” (St. J.
Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 34).

3-5. In those times it was usual at nightfall to bring a number of flocks together
into one sheepfold, where they would be kept for the night with someone acting
as look-out. Then at dawn the shepherds would come back and open the sheep-
fold and each would call his sheep which would gather round and follow him out
of the pen (they were used to his voice because he used to call them to prevent
them from going astray) and he would then lead them to pasture. Our Lord uses
this image—one very familiar to His listeners—to teach them a divine truth: since
there are strange voices around, we need to know the voice of Christ—which is
continually addressing us through the Magisterium of the Church—and to follow
it, if we are to get the nourishment our soul needs. “Christ has given His Church
sureness in doctrine and a fountain of grace in the Sacraments. He has arranged
things so that there will always be people to guide and lead us, to remind us con-
stantly of our way. There is an infinite treasure of knowledge available to us: the
word of God kept safe by the Church, the grace of Christ administered in the
Sacraments and also the witness and example of those who live by our side and
have known how to build with their good lives a road of faithfulness to God” (St. J.
Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”, 34).

6. Christ develops and interprets the image of the shepherd and the flock, to en-
sure that everyone who is well-disposed can understand His meaning. But the
Jews fail to understand—as happened also when He promised the Eucharist (John
6:41-43) and spoke of the “living water” (John 7:40-43), or when He raised Lazarus
from the dead (John 11:45-46).

7. After describing His future Church through the image of the flock, Christ extends
the simile and calls Himself the “door of the sheep”. The shepherds and the sheep
enter the sheepfold: both must enter through the door, which is Christ. “I”, St. Au-
gustine preached, “seeking to enter in among you, that is, into your heart, preach
Christ: if I were to preach other than that, I should be trying to enter by some other
way. Through Christ I enter in, not to your houses but to your hearts. Through
Him I enter and you have willingly heard me speak of Him. Why? Because you
are Christ’s sheep and you have been purchased with Christ’s blood” (”In Ioann.
Evang.” 47, 2-3).

8. The severe reproach Jesus levels against those who came before Him does not
apply to Moses or the prophets (cf. John 5:39, 45; 8:56; 12:41), nor to the Baptist
(cf. John 5:33), for they proclaimed the future Messiah and prepared the way for
Him. He is referring to the false prophets and deceivers of the people, among them
some teachers of the Law—blind men and blind guides (cf. Matthew 23:16-24) who
block the people’s way to Christ, as happened just a little before when the man
born blind was cured (cf. John 9).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


5 posted on 05/10/2014 10:38:35 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: All
Scripture readings taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd

Readings at Mass


First reading

Acts 2:14,36-41 ©

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed the crowd in a loud voice: ‘The whole House of Israel can be certain that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.’

  Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, ‘What must we do, brothers?’ ‘You must repent,’ Peter answered ‘and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to himself.’ He spoke to them for a long time using many arguments, and he urged them, ‘Save yourselves from this perverse generation.’ They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he said and were baptised. That very day about three thousand were added to their number.


Psalm

Psalm 22:1-6 ©

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

or

Alleluia!

The Lord is my shepherd;

  there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

  where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me,

  to revive my drooping spirit.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

or

Alleluia!

He guides me along the right path;

  he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness

  no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff;

  with these you give me comfort.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

or

Alleluia!

You have prepared a banquet for me

  in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

  my cup is overflowing.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

or

Alleluia!

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

  all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

  for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd: there is nothing I shall want.

or

Alleluia!


Second reading

1 Peter 2:20-25 ©

The merit, in the sight of God, is in bearing punishment patiently when you are punished after doing your duty.

  This, in fact, is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and left an example for you to follow the way he took. He had not done anything wrong, and there had been no perjury in his mouth. He was insulted and did not retaliate with insults; when he was tortured he made no threats but he put his trust in the righteous judge. He was bearing our faults in his own body on the cross, so that we might die to our faults and live for holiness; through his wounds you have been healed. You had gone astray like sheep but now you have come back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.


Gospel Acclamation

Jn10:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;

I know my own sheep and my own know me.

Alleluia!


Gospel

John 10:1-10 ©

Jesus said: ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’

  Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.

  So Jesus spoke to them again:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

I am the gate of the sheepfold.

All others who have come

are thieves and brigands;

but the sheep took no notice of them.

I am the gate.

Anyone who enters through me will be safe:

he will go freely in and out

and be sure of finding pasture.

The thief comes

only to steal and kill and destroy.

I have come

so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

 


6 posted on 05/10/2014 10:51:44 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: All

 

He is Risen! Truly Risen!

A blessed Eastertide to all!

 

7 posted on 05/10/2014 10:54:31 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: All
Emmaus: From Despair to Joy
Why Was the Resurrection Such a Hidden Event?
Mary Magdalene’s Journey out of Fear to Easter Faith
He is Risen!
Jesus is Real to Me – A Meditation on the Easter Gospel
The Earth’s Most Serious Wound
Regina Caeli: Ask Jesus what he wants from you (Catholic Caucus)
If Christ Has Not Been Raised (you don't want to miss this one!)
The Few Witnesses to the Resurrection
Iraq: Christians celebrate Easter behind high blast walls and tight security cordons
8 things you need to know about Easter
Pope: Urbi et Orbi Message, Easter, 2013 [Full text]
Pope Francis Leads First Easter Celebrations
Resurrection of the Body (Ecumenical)
April 11 Audience: On Easter's Spiritual Joy
When did the Resurrection become truly the Faith, and the official teaching of the Church?
What are they thinking? (The Easter and Christmas only Church-goers, that is!)

The Resurrection Appearances Chronologically Arranged
Are There Discrepancies in the Resurrection Accounts? If so, Can They be Resolved?
URBI ET ORBI MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE BENEDICT XVI - EASTER 2012
Saint Gregory the Great’s Sermon on the Mystery of the Resurrection
Pope Benedict XVI warns of moral 'darkness' as he celebrates Easter Mass
Easter Changes Everything
New Catholics a sign of Easter blessing for church (in Oregon)
On Easter Joy -- General Audience, Pope Benedict XVI
The Christ of the Folded Napkin
Reflection on Hope and New Life After the Easter Feasts (Thomas Rosica, CSB)
Easter Time [Eastertide or Easter Season]
Risen Christ opens for a us a completely new future says the Pope at Easter Mass
Man Who "Died" 5 Times Is Becoming Catholic (Thousands to Enter Church at Easter)
On the Resurrection-Pope Benedict XVI
Octave of Easter, Pope Benedict XVI
The Double Alleluia
Easter Sunday
Eastertide Overview
Our 'Great Sunday' (Season of Easter) [Editorial Column]
Happy Easter: The Tomb is Empty! The Warrior of Love has conquered!

Homily Of His Holiness Benedict XVI (Holy Saturday Easter Vigil, Saint Peter's Basilica)
Pope to Baptize Prominent Muslim
Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil)
The Exultet
The Dark before Dawn
Easter and the Holy Eucharist(Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil
Easter Day and Easter Season
THE EASTER LITURGY [Easter Vigil] (Anglican and Catholic Rites)
Holy Saturday and the Easter Vigil
Poles visit symbolic Christ's Graves on Holy Saturday
Easter Vigil tonight
HOMILIES PREACHED BY FATHER ALTIER FOR EASTER VIGIL FROM 2002-2005
2 Paschal Candles; Lights On at Vigil And More on Washing of the Feet
RCIA and Holy Saturday
The Time Of Easter or Eastertide -- Easter Seasosn
Easter Day and Easter Season
Easter Reflections -- 50 Days of the Easter Season
The Blessed Season of Easter - Fifty Days of Reflections

8 posted on 05/10/2014 10:55:29 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: All
Perpetual Novena for the Nation (Ecumenical)
9 posted on 05/10/2014 11:00:07 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: All
Prayers for The Religion Forum (Ecumenical)
10 posted on 05/10/2014 11:00:35 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: All

 
Jesus, High Priest
 

We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry.

Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill your priests with the sure knowledge of your love.

Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit.

Lead them to new depths of union with your Son.

Increase in them profound faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us.

Lord Jesus Christ, grant that these, your priests, may inspire us to strive for holiness by the power of their example, as men of prayer who ponder your word and follow your will.

O Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones, so dear to the Heart of your Son.

Intercede for our priests, that offering the Sacrifice of your Son, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saint John Vianney, universal patron of priests, pray for us and our priests

This icon shows Jesus Christ, our eternal high priest.

The gold pelican over His heart represents self-sacrifice.

The border contains an altar and grapevines, representing the Mass, and icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney.

Melchizedek: king of righteousness (left icon) was priest and king of Jerusalem.  He blessed Abraham and has been considered an ideal priest-king.

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.

11 posted on 05/10/2014 11:01:46 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: All
Pray a Rosary each day for our nation.

Pray the Rosary

1.  Sign of the Cross:  In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

2.  The Apostles Creed:  I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

3.  The Lord's Prayer:  OUR Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

4. (3) Hail Mary:  HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. (Three times)

5. Glory Be:  GLORY be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Fatima Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of your mercy.

Announce each mystery, then say 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys, 1 Glory Be and 1 Fatima prayer.  Repeat the process with each mystery.

End with the Hail Holy Queen:

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus!

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Final step -- The Sign of the Cross

 

The Mysteries of the Rosary

By tradition, Catholics meditate on these Mysteries during prayers of the Rosary.
The biblical references follow each of the Mysteries below.


The Glorious Mysteries
(Wednesdays and Sundays)
1.The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-18, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-29) [Spiritual fruit - Faith]
2. The Ascension (Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11) [Spiritual fruit - Christian Hope]
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13) [Spiritual fruit - Gifts of the Holy Spirit]
4. The Assumption [Spiritual fruit - To Jesus through Mary]
5. The Coronation [Spiritual fruit - Grace of Final Perseverance]


12 posted on 05/10/2014 11:02:33 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: All



~ PRAYER ~

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle
 Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we  humbly pray,
 and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
 by the power of God,
 Cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls.
 Amen
+

13 posted on 05/10/2014 11:03:08 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: All

A Prayer for our Free Nation Under God
God Save Our Country web site (prayer warriors)
Prayer Chain Request for the United States of America
Pray for Nancy Pelosi
Prayer and fasting will help defeat health care reform (Freeper Prayer Thread)
Prayer Campaign Started to Convert Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians to Pro-Life
[Catholic Caucus] One Million Rosaries
Non-stop Rosary vigil to defeat ObamaCare

From an Obama bumper sticker on a car:

"Pray for Obama.  Psalm 109:8"

   

PLEASE JOIN US -

Evening Prayer
Someone has said that if people really understood the full extent of the power we have available through prayer, we might be speechless.
Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?  


There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have.    Please forward this to your praying friends.


14 posted on 05/10/2014 11:03:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: All
May Devotion: Blessed Virgin Mary
The Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Grace

Since the 16th century Catholic piety has assigned entire months to special devotions. Toward the end of the eighteenth century a zealous Jesuit priest, Father Lalomia, started among the students of the Roman college of his Society the practice of dedicating May to Our Lady. The devotion, which others had promoted in a small way, soon spread to other Jesuit Colleges and to the entire Latin church and since that time it has been a regular feature of Catholic life.

INVOCATIONS

Thou who wast a virgin before thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin in thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.
Thou who wast a virgin after thy delivery, pray for us. Hail Mary, etc.

My Mother, deliver me from mortal sin.
Hail Mary (three times).

Mother of love, of sorrow and of mercy, pray for us.

Remember, O Virgin Mother of God, when thou shalt stand before the face of the Lord, that thou speak favorable things in our behalf and that He may turn away His indignation from us.
Roman Missal

Thou art my Mother, O Virgin Mary: keep me safe lest I ever offend thy dear Son, and obtain for me the grace to please Him always and in all things.

FOR THE HELP OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

May we be assisted, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, by the worshipful intercession of Thy glorious Mother, the ever-Virgin Mary; that we, who have been enriched by her perpetual blessings, may be delivered from all dangers, and through her loving kindness made to be of one heart and mind: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
Roman Missal

THE SALVE REGINA

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!
Roman Breviary

PRAYER TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world? What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found
the way to restoration? Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and, receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses. Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation. May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted. Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners. Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, 0 blessed Lady, is our hope of reward. Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection. Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers. Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end. Amen.
Saint Augustine

PETITION TO MARY

Most holy Virgin Immaculate, my Mother Mary, to thee who art the Mother of my Lord, the queen of the universe, the advocate, the hope, the refuge of sinners, I who am the most miserable of all sinners, have recourse this day. I venerate thee, great queen, and I thank thee for the many graces thou hast bestowed upon me even unto this day; in particular for having delivered me from the hell which I have so often deserved by my sins. I love thee, most dear Lady; and for the love I bear thee, I promise to serve thee willingly for ever and to do what I can to make thee loved by others also. I place in thee all my hopes for salvation; accept me as thy servant and shelter me under thy mantle, thou who art the Mother of mercy. And since thou art so powerful with God, deliver me from all temptations, or at least obtain for me the strength to overcome them until death. From thee I implore a true love for Jesus Christ. Through thee I hope to die a holy death. My dear Mother, by the love thou bearest to Almighty God, I pray thee to assist me always, but most of all at the last moment of my life. Forsake me not then, until thou shalt see me safe in heaven, there to bless thee and sing of thy mercies through all eternity. Such is my hope. Amen.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Magnificat Prayer
My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior,
For he has looked upon his servant in her lowliness; all ages to come shall call me blessed.
God who is mighty has done great things for me,
holy is his name; His mercy is from age to age on those who fear him. He has shown might with his arm; he has confused the proud in their inmost thoughts. He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away. He has upheld Israel his servant, ever mindful of his mercy; Even as he promised our fathers, promised Abraham and his descendants forever.
(Lk 1:46-55) 

TO MARY, REFUGE OF SINNERS
Hail, most gracious Mother of mercy, hail, Mary, for whom we fondly yearn, through whom we obtain forgiveness! Who would not love thee? Thou art our light in uncertainty, our comfort in sorrow, our solace in the time of trial, our refuge from every peril and temptation. Thou art our sure hope of salvation, second only to thy only-begotten Son; blessed are they who love thee, our Lady! Incline, I beseech thee, thy ears of pity to the entreaties of this thy servant, a miserable sinner; dissipate the darkness of my sins by the bright beams of thy holiness, in order that I may be acceptable in thy sight.

FOR THE GRACE OF LOVE
O Mary, my dear Mother, how much I love thee! And yet in reality how little! Thou dost teach me what I ought to know, for thou teachest me what Jesus is to me and what I ought to be for Jesus. Dearly beloved Mother, how close to God thou art, and how utterly filled with Him! In the measure that we know God, we remind ourselves of thee. Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of loving my Jesus; obtain for me the grace of loving thee!
Cardinal Merry del Val

TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY FOR MAY

O most august and blessed Virgin Mary! Holy Mother of God! glorious Queen of heaven and earth! powerful protectress of those who love thee, and unfailing advocate of all who invoke thee! look down, I beseech thee, from thy throne of glory on thy devoted child; accept the solemn offering I present thee of this month, specially dedicated to thee, and receive my ardent, humble desire, that by my love and fervor I could worthily honor thee, who, next to God, art deserving of all honor. Receive me, 0 Mother of Mercy, among thy best beloved children; extend to me thy maternal tenderness and solicitude; obtain for me a place in the Heart of Jesus, and a special share in the gifts of His grace. 0 deign, I beseech thee, to recognize my claims on thy protection, to watch over my spiritual and temporal interests, as well as those of all who are dear to me; to infuse into my soul the spirit of Christ, and to teach me thyself to become meek, humble, charitable, patient, and submissive to the will of God.

May my heart bum with the love of thy Divine Son, and of thee, His blessed Mother, not for a month alone, but for time and eternity; may I thirst for the promotion of His honor and thine, and contribute, as far as I can, to its extension. Receive me, 0 Mary, the refuge of sinners! Grant me a Mother's blessing and a Mother's care, now, and at the hour of my death. Amen.

TO OUR LADY

Saint John Vianney, better known as the Cure of Ars, when asked how long he had loved Mary, said: "I loved her almost before I could know her." In this prayer he expresses that love.
O thou most holy virgin Mary, who dost evermore stand before the most holy Trinity, and to whom it is granted at all times to pray for us to thy most beloved Son; pray for me in all my necessities; help me, combat for me, and obtain for me the pardon of all my sins. Help me especially at my last hour; and when I can no longer give any sign of the use of reason, then do thou encourage me, make the sign of the cross for me, and fight for me against the enemy. Make in my name a profession of faith; favor me with a testimony of my salvation, and never let me despair of the mercy of God. Help me to overthrow the wicked enemy. When I can no longer say: "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I place my soul in your hands," do thou say it for me; when I can no longer hear human words of consolation, do thou comfort me. Leave me not before I have been judged; and if I have to expiate my sins in purgatory, oh! pray for me earnestly; and admonish my friends to procure for me a speedy enjoyment of the blessed sight of God. Lessen my sufferings, deliver me speedily, and lead my soul into heaven with thee: that, united with all the elect, I may there bless and praise my God and thee for all eternity. Amen.
Saint John Vianney

ACT OF REPARATION

O blessed Virgin, Mother of God, look down in mercy from heaven, where thou art enthroned as Queen, upon me, a miserable sinner, thine unworthy servant. Although I know full well my own unworthiness, yet in order to atone for the offenses that are done to thee by impious and blasphemous
tongues, from the depths of my heart I praise and extol thee as the purest, the fairest, the holiest creature of all God's handiwork. I bless thy holy name, I praise thine exalted privilege of being truly Mother of God, ever virgin, conceived without stain of sin, co-redemptrix of the human race. I bless the Eternal Father who chose thee in an especial way for His daughter; I bless the Word Incarnate who took upon Himself our nature in thy bosom and so made thee His Mother; I bless the Holy Spirit who took thee as His bride. All honor, praise and thanksgiving to the ever-blessed Trinity, who predestined thee and loved thee so exceedingly from all eternity as to exalt thee above all creatures to the most sublime heights. 0 Virgin, holy and merciful, obtain for all who offend thee the grace of repentance, and graciously accept this poor act of homage from me thy servant, obtaining likewise for me from thy divine Son the pardon and remission of all my sins. Amen.

Prayer Source: Prayer Book, The by Reverend John P. O'Connell, M.A., S.T.D. and Jex Martin, M.A., The Catholic Press, Inc., Chicago, Illinois, 1954

Memorare of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Sassoferrato - Jungfrun i bön.jpg

Remember O Most Gracious Virgin Mary!
That never was it known
That anyone who fled to thy protection,
Implored thy help or sought thy intercession
Was left unaided. 

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto Thee!
O Virgin of virgins, My Mother!

To Thee I come before Thee I stand,
Sinful and Sorrowful,
Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate,
Despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy,
Hear and answer me.


Amen

Who Is Our Lady of Laus? “My name is Mary” (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
What Happened to the Virgin Mary After Pentecost? [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus)
Saint Thomas Aquinas on the Hail Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Yes, Mary DOES Know
How Can Mary Hear Thousands Simultaneously?
Fr Paul Schenck: Immaculate Conception Tells us Who Mary Is and Who We Are (Catholic Caucus)
Mary,Our Lady of Quatlasupe,She who crushes the head of the serpent, is leading...(Catholic Caucus)
MARY, MOTHER OF EVANGELIZATION [Cath-Orth caucus]
On Mary, Model of Faith, Charity and Union with Christ [Weekly Audience]
Why Don’t You honor Mary?
Columbus and the Virgin Mary [Catholic Caucus]

Pope Francis: Mary’s faith unties the knot of sin
Pope consecrates world to immaculate heart of Mary
Mary, Mother of God
Mary 'can only bring us to God,' expert says as entrustment nears
Pope Francis: "Mary, look upon us" (Mass in Cagliari)
Devotion to the Most Holy Name of Mary [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Pope Francis: contemplate the “suffering humanity” of Jesus and the sweetness of Mary
Mary's Nativity Draws Tens of Thousands to Indian Basilica
Veneration of Mary in Luke 11:27-28
Pope at Mass: Learning from Mary to keep the Word of God

Pope: Mary is always in a hurry to help us (first pastoral visit to a diocese in Rome)
Catholic Word of the Day: MARY'S SINLESSNESS, 04-01-13
Letter #47: To Mary (Pope Francis prays at (tomb of Pope St. Pius V) [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Word of the Day: MARY'S VIRGINITY, 02-26-13
Mariaphobic Response Syndrome: Part Two
Mariaphobic Response Syndrome: Part One
A Mother’s Love, The Blessed Virgin Mary Saying YES To God
Chesterton on devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary [Ecumenical]
The Perpetual Virginity of Blessed Mary
A Comparison is Instituted Between the Disobedient and Sinning Eve and the Virgin Mary..

Magnificat: The Hymn of the Blessed Virgin Mary [Catholic Caucus]
The Blessed Virgin Mary's Role in the Celibate Priest's Spousal... (Pt 2) (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
The Blessed Virgin Mary's Role in the Celibate Priest's Spousal and Paternal Love (CATHOLIC CAUCUS)
Discovering Mary [Excellent New Book For Converts]
Beginning Our Lady's Month [Catholic Caucus]
Give it all to Mary [Catholic Caucus]
JESUS LIVING IN MARY: HANDBOOK, SPIRITUALITY OF ST. LOUIS DE MONTFORT, ROSARY [Ecumenical]
Mary, Tabernacle of the Lord By Archbishop Fulton Sheen(Catholic Caucus)
A Protestant Discovers Mary
Mary is our Mother and Queen of the New Davidic Kingdom (Scriptures Agree With Catholic Church)

Hail Mary
Holy Water Silhouette (Virgin Mary -video))
How could Mary be the Mother of God?
Mary, the Mother of God (a defense)
Calling Mary “Mother of God” Tells Us Who Jesus Is
The Holy Spirit And Mary (Catholic Caucus)
Mary, Our Cause of Rejoicing
Mary in Byzantine Doctrine and Devotion (Catholic / Orthodox Caucus)
Radio Replies First Volume - Devotion to Mary
The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Catholic Discovery of America(Catholic Caucus)

Mary is the star that guides us to holiness, says Holy Father during Angelus [Catholic Caucus]
The Efficacy and Power of One Hail Mary [Ecumenical]
When Did Belief in the Virgin Birth Begin?
Mary, Motherhood, and the Home BY Archbishop Fulton Sheen
On Mary, Mother of Priests
Benedict reflects on Mary and the priesthood [Catholic Caucus]
Radio Replies First Volume - Mary
Scholar says Baptists neglect lessons from Virgin Mary
Mary and the Sword Continued Part #2 by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Mary and the Sword by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen(Catholic Caucus)

Why Did Mary Offer a Sin Offering? [Ecumenical]
Mary and Intercessory Prayer
Mary: Holy Mother
Mary not just for Catholics anymore
Pope concludes Month of Mary in the Vatican Gardens
Consecration to Mary(Catholic Caucus)
Mary’s Marching Orders
Praying the Hail Mary Like Never Before [Ecumenical]
Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament [Catholic Caucus]
Catholic Caucus: The Catechism of St. Thomas Aquinas - THE HAIL MARY

Our Jewish Roots: The Immaculate Conception [Ecumenical]
The Blessed Virgin in the History of Christianity [Ecumenical]
Archbishop Sheen Today! -- Mary and the Moslems
Mary Immaculate: Patroness of the United States [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
"The Woman He Loved": Fulton Sheen and the Blessed Mother(Catholic Caucus)
September 12: The Most Holy Name of Mary and Militant Islam
Catholic Devotional: Feast of the Holy Name of Mary
A Homily on the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary
May Devotion: Blessed Virgin Mary
Catholic Caucus: Mary, The Power of Her Name [The Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary]

15 posted on 05/10/2014 11:04:17 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: All
May 2014 Year

Pope's Intentions

Universal: That the media may be instruments in the service of truth and peace.

For Evangelization: That Mary, Star of Evangelization, may guide the Church in proclaiming Christ to all nations.


16 posted on 05/10/2014 11:04:48 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: All
Daily Gospel Commentary

Fourth Sunday of Easter - Year A

Commentary of the day
Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church
Sermon 46, On the shepherds; CCL 41, 529

" I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly"

“Thus says the Lord: 'I myself will come'”... This is what he has undoubtedly done and what he will yet do: “I myself am coming: I will seek out my sheep, I will tend them as a shepherd tends his flock.” The wicked shepherds took no care of them because they did not redeem their sheep with their blood... “My sheep hear my voice. I will seek out my sheep from the midst of the scattered sheep and will bring them out from all the places they were scattered on the day of clouds and darkness. No matter how hard it is to find them, I will find them... I will rescue my sheep from foreign lands, I will gather them and lead them back to their own homes; I will lead them to pasture on the mountains of Israel.”

These “mountains of Israel” are the writers of holy Scripture. They are the pastures where you are to feed if you wish to do so safely. Savor everything you learn from them and reject everything outside. Don't go astray in the mists, listen to the shepherd's voice. Gather on the mountains of holy Scripture. There you will find true delight for your heart. There is nothing poisonous there, nothing dangerous; they are rich pastures... “I will lead them beside rivers, in the best places.” From those mountains we were just talking about, rivers of Gospel preaching pour down since “the voice [of the apostles] resounds to the ends of the earth” and all the ends of the earth provide pleasant and fertile pastures for the sheep.

“I will cause them to feed in good pasture..., and their sheepfold will be there”, that is to say, there they will rest, there they will be able to say: “It is good to be here; true enough, it is perfectly clear, we have found the truth.” They will take their rest in the glory of God as in a sheepfold.

(Biblical references : Ez 34,10-14; Ps 79[80],2-3; Jn 10,27; Ps 18[19],5)


17 posted on 05/10/2014 11:06:39 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: All
Arlington Catholic Herald

GOSPEL COMMENTARY JN 10:1-10

The narrow gate

Fr. Jerry J. Pokorsky

The irascible and always entertaining British novelist Evelyn Waugh observed more than 75 years ago, “It is better to be narrow-minded than to have no mind, to hold limited and rigid principles than none at all. That is the danger that faces so many people today — to have no considered opinions on any subject, to put up with what is wasteful and harmful with the excuse that there is ‘good in everything’ — which in most cases means inability to distinguish between good and bad.” Is this a mere literary rant for our amusement, or is Waugh to be taken seriously?

Whenever there is an act of violence in the name of religion somewhere in the world, the customary early response is: “Not all members of that religious group are bad.” Aside from stating the obvious, it is a provocative initial response. In considering the horror of the violence at a distance, there seems to be a pressing need to avoid being labeled “narrow-minded” or “judgmental” or even “bigoted” — a need apparently equal to recognizing the evil of the deed. Hence it is useful to press those who make the response with the question echoing Christ: Why do you call them (or anyone) good?

In the Gospel, Jesus responds to the rich young man, “No one is good — except God alone” (Mk 10:18). God alone defines what is good. But in every generation, in every heart, there is an unholy inclination to test God to our own definition of good and evil, just as Adam and Eve were seduced by the devil to “know (be in charge of) good and evil.” Furthermore, whenever we hear, as we often do, that “we are hated because of our values,” before we take up arms it would be helpful to ensure that our “values” coincide with God’s values. And God’s “values” can be found in summary form in the Ten Commandment covenant revealed to Moses and the Israelites.

But the commandments do not resonate only in the hearts of Jews and Christians; they are inherent in the hearts of everyone. St. Paul insists the commandments have been inscribed on the heart of every man: “When Gentiles (unbelievers) who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom 2:13-16). When it comes to the possibility of unbelievers truly living God’s law and entering into heavenly glory with a clean conscience, St. Paul is “inclusive.”

In view of St. Paul’s “natural moral law” assertion, it is a mistake to dismiss Catholic teaching on morality as rigidly narrow and sectarian. Yet we often hear people say, for example, “For Catholics, abortion and contraception are wrong.” Of course, this is none-too-subtly suggesting contraception and abortion may not be wrong for non-Catholics. But the absurdity of the phrase, “for Catholics,” in connection with morality should be clear if, for example, we adjust the phrase: “For Americans, mass murder is wrong,” or “For Americans, racism is wrong.” A universal objective moral order is evident and should be acknowledged. Catholic teaching on morality is not an “imposition” on a limited number of believers or cultures. Catholic moral teaching is a gift of moral clarity, broadly revealing to everyone the path to salvation — as well as the path to just and orderly families and societies — and even a template for dialog among nations and religions. The computer voice of a GPS navigational device may be pleasant and nonjudgmental during wrong turns, but the recalculations always point to the final destination. Our leaders and shepherds might take a lesson from the example of those relentless GPS devices, directing us on our way to justice and salvation with constant references to the Ten Commandments written on the hearts of all people.

How “rigid” or “open-minded” must we be in matters of our salvation? Christ teaches in Sunday’s Gospel, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.”

Christ knows we have enemies and obstacles to salvation. And He carefully distinguishes between good and bad as He directs us through the narrow gate. He is the Good Shepherd whose voice we recognize. Evelyn Waugh may not speak with the pleasant GPS voice we would care to hear every day. But his message is fully compatible with the teachings of Christ.

Fr. Pokorsky is pastor of St. Michael Church in Annandale.


18 posted on 05/10/2014 11:08:41 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: All
The Work of God

Year A  -  Fourth Sunday of Easter

I am the gate of the sheepfold

John 10:1-10

1 "Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.
2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers."
6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (NRSV)

Inspiration of the Holy Spirit - From the Sacred Heart of Jesus

I am the Good Shepherd, the one who cares for the sheep. They get lost, hungry, and sick, and finally perish unless I come to the rescue. I open the gate for them, so that they can come in and find good pasture. I lead them through the meadows of life so that they may be happy and enjoy what I have to offer.

I am the gate of the sheepfold; there is no other way for them to go in. I am always open to welcome back my sheep, to care for them, and to protect them in the enclosure of my stronghold.

When they leave the sheepfold and go astray they are putting themselves at high risk, because the wolf is always ready to destroy them.

I am the One who gives life. I came to give life abundantly, not just the life that you live now but eternal life that comes from me.

I am the Lord, your protector: I protect what is mine. When you come to me and give yourself to me you become mine. In my joy I protect you and take care of you.

Come by my side and stay with me. I will share my Holy Spirit with you so that you may live for the spiritual life I offer. I will shine my light before you and lead you through the darkness of life, so that you may always feel secure.

Goats are proud but sheep are humble, they are both images of man. I delight in the humble of heart but resist the proud.

Be humble and accept my call, bend your will to my teachings, listen to my voice and open your heart to let my words burn within you. I want you.

Come, follow me.

Author: Joseph of Jesus and Mary


19 posted on 05/10/2014 11:11:54 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 18 | View Replies]

To: All
Zenit.org

The Shepherd: the Lamb Who Saves the Sheep

Lectio Divina: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year

Paris, May 09, 2014 (Zenit.org) Monsignor Francesco Follo | 617 hits

1) He is the true Shepherd, the good one.

 

     Today's liturgy invites us to contemplate Jesus as both the shepherd and the entry to the sheepfold while at Easter we have contemplated Him as the Lamb, the paschal victim who redeems the sheep conquering death forever.

     Today in the developed western world, the image of the shepherd is not very present and when it is, it is done with a bit of contempt so much so that the expression "I am not a sheep" is used to define independent and courageous adults not in need of a shepherd.

     In the former days and in the Jewish civilization the figure of the shepherd was a well-known and familiar one: Abraham was a shepherd, Moses was the shepherd of his people and so was also King David. In fact, in the biblical civilization the image of the shepherd as the king who leads his people and of the God as The Shepherd who leads his people to freedom and to life was well known.

     The History of Salvation sung in Psalms and narrated in particular in the book of Exodus, has made ​​familiar to the Jews the experience of a God who is near. This experience is well expressed by the image of God that leads his people to pastures, defends them from the enemies, led them to safety through the dangers of the desert and guides them toward the fulfillment of His promises and to the Promised Land.

     It is a divine romance that sums up the troubled relationship between the people and God who uses the image of the shepherd to say, “Look! I myself will search for my sheep and examine them. As a shepherd examines his flock while he himself is among his scattered sheep, so will I examine my sheep. I will deliver them from every place where they were scattered on the day of dark clouds.I will lead them out from among the peoples and gather them from the lands; I will bring them back to their own country and pasture them upon the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and every inhabited place in the land.In good pastures I will pasture them; on the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down on good grazing ground; in rich pastures they will be pastured on the mountains of Israel. I myself will pasture my sheep; I myself will give them rest—oracle of the Lord GOD. The lost I will search out, the strays I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, and the sick I will heal; but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd them in judgment." (Ez 34: 11-16).

     Jesus, who bore within itself the truth and the fulfillment of all the prophecies, puts himself into this path and proves to be the truth, the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and his sheep know Him, just as the Father knows Him and He knows the Father (cf. Jn 10:14-15 ) . How wonderful is this knowledge that reaches up to the eternal Truth and Love, whose name is the "Father." It is from this source that comes the particular knowledge which gives rise to full and pure trust. This is not an abstract knowledge, a purely intellectual certainty. It is a liberating knowledge that inspires trust.

2) The Shepherd is the Door

     As I mentioned above, the allegory of the shepherd, with which Jesus describes his identity "I AM the good shepherd” (Jn 10:11), moves on a background still very familiar to the life in the Holy Land. In the evening, the shepherds lead the flock in a pen for the night. A common fence serves generally for several flocks. In the morning each shepherd cries his call and the sheep - the sheep that know his voice - follow him.

     Recounting this familiar scene Jesus emphasizes first that HE is the true shepherd because - unlike the mercenary – he is not going to steal the sheep, but to give life.  The characteristic of the true shepherd is the gift of self.

     But there is also a second thought: Jesus is the door of the sheepfold “I AM the Door" (cf. Jn 10: 7:09). And this takes on two meanings: one for the leaders and a second for the faithful. Jesus is the door through which we must pass in order to be legitimate shepherds. No one can have authority over the Church if not legitimized by Jesus.  And no one is a disciple if he does not go through Jesus and enters in his community. As you can see, Jesus is at the center of the authority that governs in his name and of the faithful that in communion with Him can truly belong to the people of God

     In today's Gospel, Jesus says: " I ​​AM" and he says it four times: I AM the door, and again I AM the door, then I AM the good Shepherd, I AM the Shepherd good; - where the I AM reminds to the God of the Exodus, the revelation of the Name of God, the God who saves mankind and sets him free.

     Whoever enters via the door is the shepherd; all the others are thieves. The door is a hole in the wall and at the same time the fence from where you can walk out to freedom. Jesus is the door that is opened between man and God. As the incarnated Word of God, He is the door from man to God. He is the door through which humanity sees the truth of the man, who is the Son of God. Those who enter through this door, enter through intelligence, for the Son is the Word of the Father, which is itself intelligence. They enter through freedom and love for the children who are free, love, respond to love and follow a certain kind of life.

     Compared to the fence of the sheepfold, which although necessary for the protection of the sheep is also a barrier, the door means the possibility for communication and communion.

     That door, which is Jesus, is the breaking of what separates God from us and us from God and therefore it is the possibility of the communication and the communion desired both by Him and by us.

3) We must follow the Shepherd to evangelize.

     However, today’s Gospel passage not only describes the figure of Jesus as Shepherd and Pastor of the Church, but it also describes the behavior of the sheep, which are called by name to follow their shepherd. The following is the result of a call (“He calls his own sheep by name "), implying a sense of belonging (the sheep are his) and requiring listening (“hear his voice ").

     Call, belonging and listening are the traits of the community that walks with Jesus. Of course all of this requires the rejection of any other shepherd and every other teacher (“a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him ").

     Jesus, light of the world, leads to the pastures of life, makes us one flock of free people, children and siblings like him and different from each other. He is the Lamb who knows how to expose, lay and place his life on behalf of others. He is the Chief because He is the Servant of all. He is the true Shepherd, different from celebrities who are too often followed as a model, but are models that steal life and do not donate it.

     The model of man that Jesus asks us to live is the model of the shepherd. He, the Good Shepherd, comes to bring us to freedom, which means not to follow the current models, stylish and deviant. He is the Good and True Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep “(Jn 10, 11.15).

     But there is also another characteristic, which is indicated after a few lines. The Shepherd Jesus not only traces the path to the flock (walking in front of the flock and is he  only the one who gathers the flock (who loves and calls his own sheep), but  he is the one who - walking in front of the flock – thinks also of the sheep that do not belong to the fold. So is Peter: he is the pastor of the Church, but his thought is for the whole world. His role is also to not allow the Christian community to close in, to get away from the world and to think only about herself.

     In this regard, the consecrated Virgins show that being religious does not mean “to spare themselves for eternal life” ... but to penetrate, as did the Word of God, into everyday work showing the face of the Father who awaits, of the Son who remakes all things and of the Spirit that animates them.

     To enter into the world means to bring the example of the limits of the Incarnation up to a more intensely dramatic sphere. St. Paul writes: “Those who use this world do not stick to it, because the scene of this world passes” (cf. 1 Cor 7:31). This involves putting the transcendent in the very core of our life and of the daily activities of our commitment. This dimension constitutes a consecration and “By such a bond, a person is totally dedicated to God, loved beyond all things. In this way, that person is ordained to the honor and service of God under a new and special title. (Dogmatic Constitution of the Church “Lumen Gentium”, 44)

--

Acts 2:14 a-36 - 41; Ps 23 ; 1 Peter 2:20 b- 25; Jn 10:1-10


20 posted on 05/10/2014 11:16:05 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: All
Archdiocese of Washington

Are You Smarter than a Sheep? A Homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally called Good Shepherd Sunday, for the readings focus on how our risen Lord Jesus is our shepherd, who leads us to eternal life. But of course the flip side of the Lord being our shepherd, is that we are His sheep.  We sometimes miss the humor of the Lord calling us sheep.  The Lord could have said that we are strong and swift as horses, beautiful as gazelles, or brave as lions. But instead, he said we are like sheep. I guess I’ve been called worse, but it’s a little humbling and embarrassing, really. And yet sheep are worthwhile animals and they have a certain quality that makes them pretty smart, as we shall see. Are you smarter than a sheep? Well, let’s look and see how we stack up as we look at this gospel in three stages.

I. The Situation of the Sheep - In this Gospel the Lord is speaking to Pharisees and seeking almost to reassure them that he is not like other false shepherds—false messiahs who have led many astray in recent years. Jesus says, Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. …All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. …A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy.

The times in which Jesus lived were times of great social unrest and political turmoil. There were heightened expectations of a coming messiah who would liberate Israel from its Roman and Herodian oppressors. Given the climate of the times, most had emphasized the role of the messiah as a political and economic liberator who would come, wage war, and then triumphantly reestablish the Davidic Monarchy in all its worldly glory.

Josephus, a Jewish historian of the time, may have exaggerated (but only a little) when he spoke of 10,000 insurrections in the years leading up to the Jewish War with the Romans (66–70 AD). But even as early as Jesus’ lifetime there had been many conflicts and bloody uprisings led by numerous false messiahs. It is most likely these whom Jesus calls “thieves and robbers.” It is also the likely explanation for Jesus’ resistance to being called Messiah, except in very specific circumstances (Matt 16:16,20; Mk 8:30; Mk 14:62).

Jesus also warned that after he ascended, false messiahs would continue to plague the land:

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it (Matt 24:24-26).

Ultimately these false Christs did arise and mislead many, and the results were horrible. Josephus says that 1.2 million Jewish people lost their lives during the Jewish War with the Romans.

So here is the situation of the sheep. Jesus speaks of the dangers of false messiahs and false saviors, and He denounces them unambiguously as thieves and robbers. We too live in a world in which many erroneous philosophies, false messiahs, and “saviors” seek to claim our loyalties and engage us in their error.

Perhaps it is the false claims of materialism, a theory which says that the right combination of wealth and power can bring meaning and happiness. And sadly many of the “prosperity Gospel” preachers expound this by their silence on the cross and sin.

Perhaps it is the error of secularism, which exalts the state and the culture and puts their importance above that of God. Many in the Church and in the Protestant denominations (both clergy and lay) follow false shepherds and call others to do so. They seek to align their faith more closely with their politics, instead of adjusting their politics to agree with their faith; they show more allegiance to their “party” than to the Faith; they do not address the errors associated with their political point of view; they are more likely to see their political leaders as shepherds than they are to view their bishops or priests in that way. Many also follow the false shepherds of our culture and look there for moral leadership rather than to God, the Scriptures, or the Church. If Miley Cyrus says it, it must be so. But if the Church says something, there is anger and protest. Yes, false messiahs are all around us in the secular culture, and sadly, many Catholics and Christians follow them like sheep to the slaughter.

Perhaps it is the arrogance of modern times, which claims a special enlightenment over previous eras (such as the biblical era) which were “less enlightened and tolerant.” Here too, many false shepherds in the clothing of trendy preachers and theologians have sought to engage God’s people in the sort of arrogance that thinks we moderns have “come of age” and may safely ignore the wisdom of the past as expressed in the Scriptures and in sacred Tradition.

Perhaps it is the promiscuity of this age, which claims sexual liberty for itself but never counts the cost in terms of broken lives, broken families, STDs, AIDS, high divorce rates, teenage pregnancy, abortion, and so on. Sadly, many so-called preachers and supposedly Christian denominations now bless homosexual unions and ordain clergy who are practicing the homosexual “lifestyle.” Many also support abortion and contraception, and speak little or nothing about premarital sex (fornication).

Yes the sheep are still afflicted, and false philosophies and messiahs abound. Jesus calls those false saviors thieves and marauders (robbers) because they want to steal from us what the Lord has given, and harm us by leading us astray. Their wish is ultimately to slaughter and destroy.

Do not be misled by the soft focus of these wolves in sheep’s clothing, by their message of “tolerance” and humanitarian concern. A simple look at the death toll in the 20th century from such ideologies shows the actual wolf lurking behind these foolish and evil trends that have misled the flock.

And as for these false shepherds, remember this: not one of them ever died for you. Only Jesus did that.

II. The Shepherd of the Sheep – Having rejected false shepherds, Jesus now goes on to describe himself as the true Shepherd:

But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.

Now this passage tells us not only of the true Shepherd, but also of his true sheep. For the true Shepherd is sent by the Father who is the gatekeeper and has opened the way for the Son, and True Shepherd. The Father has confirmed the Son both by signs and wonders, and by the fulfillment of prophesies in abundance.

And of the true sheep the Lord says that they not only recognize His voice, but also that they will run from a stranger because they do not recognize his voice.

In sheep herding areas, flocks belonging to different shepherds are often brought together in fenced-off areas for the night, especially in the cooler months. And one may wonder how shepherds can tell which sheep belong to which shepherd. Ultimately the sheep sort themselves out. For in the morning a shepherd will go to the gate and summon, with a chant-like call, his sheep. Those that recognize his voice will run to him; those that do not will recoil in fear. Now that’s actually pretty smart! Sheep may not know how to go to the moon and back, but they DO know their master’s voice.

And so the question for us is, “Are we smarter than sheep?” Sheep have the remarkable quality of knowing their master’s voice, and of instinctively fearing any other voice and fleeing from it.

In this matter, it would seem that sheep are smarter than are most of us. For we do not flee voices contrary to Christ. Instead we draw close and say, “Tell me more.” In fact we spend a lot of time and pay a lot of money to listen to other voices. We spend large amounts of money to buy televisions so that the enemy’s voice can influence us and our children. We spend huge amounts of time with TV, radio, and the Internet. And we can be drawn so easily to the enemy’s voice.

And not only do we NOT flee it, we feast on it. And instead of rejecting it, we turn and rebuke the voice of God, and put His Word on trial instead of putting the world on trial.

The goal for us is to be more wary, like sheep, and to recognize only one voice: that of the Lord speaking though his Church, and then to flee every other voice.

Are you smarter than a sheep? You decide.

III. The Salvation of the Sheep – The text says, Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. …I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.

Here then is the description of the Christian life: acceptance, access, and abundance.

So, are you smarter than a sheep? Then run to Jesus. Flee every other voice. Enter the sheepfold and let Him give you life.

This song says, “I said I wasn’t gonna tell nobody, but I couldn’t keep it to myself what the Lord has done for me. …And then I started walkin’, started talkin’, started singin’, started shoutin’ O what the Lord has done for me.” Enjoy an old gospel classic.


21 posted on 05/10/2014 11:20:48 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: All
Sunday Gospel Reflections

4th Sunday of Easter
Reading I: Acts 2:14,36-41 II: 1Peter 2:20-25


Gospel
John 10:1-10

1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;
2 but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers."
6 This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them.
9 I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


Interesting Details
One Main Point

Jesus is the sheepgate.

Every family then had a flock of sheep, but extended families keep their flocks together in one pen. A gatekeeper must know everyone in the extended family. The good shepherd leads the flock in and out of this gate.


Reflections
  1. Imagine the state of the pen with Jesus as the sheepgate and his loving, faithful disciples as the good shepherds. What role do I play in the "pen" that is the community?
  2. When I participate in the activities of the Church, do I enter through Jesus and act out of love, or do I steal for my own pride, causing conflicts and hatred?

22 posted on 05/10/2014 11:24:11 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: All
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Easter
First Reading:
Psalm:
Second Reading:
Gospel:
Acts 2:14, 36-41
Psalm 23:1-6
1 Peter 2:20-25
John 10:1-10

When we come to the sign of the Lord in the sacrament of baptism we are freed of these chains and liberated by the blood of Christ and by his name. Therefore, beloved, we are washed clean but once; we are freed only once; we are received into the immortal kingdom once and for all. Once and for all are they happy whose sins are forgiven and whose stains are blotted out. Hold fast to what you have received; preserve it joyfully; sin no more. Keep yourselves as children cleansed by that sacrament and made spotless for the day of the Lord.

-- St. Pacian


23 posted on 05/10/2014 11:25:07 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: All
Just A Minute Just A Minute (Listen)
Some of EWTN's most popular hosts and guests in a collection of one minute inspirational messages. A different message each time you click.

24 posted on 05/10/2014 11:26:40 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: All

Regina Coeli

 

This prayer, which dates from the twelfth century, is substituted for the Angelus during Easter Season.

In Latin

In English

Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia: Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia. Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

 

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, Alleluia,

R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.

 

Oremus: Deus qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus, ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum.

R. Amen.

Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia: For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen as He said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

 

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R. Because the Lord is truly risen, alleluia.

 

Let us pray: O God, who by the Resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, granted joy to the whole world: grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may lay hold of the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.


25 posted on 05/10/2014 11:27:45 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: All
A Prayer for Mothers

A Prayer for Mothers

 

Most Gracious Heavenly Father,

We thank You for our mothers to whom You have entrusted the care of every precious human life from its very beginning in the womb.

You have given to woman the capacity of participating with You in the creation of new life. Grant that every woman may come to understand the full meaning of that blessing, which gives her an unlimited capacity for selfless love for every child she may be privileged to bear, and for all Your children.

Watch over every mother who is with child, strengthen her faith in Your fatherly care and love for her and for her unborn baby. Give her courage in times of fear or pain, understanding in times of uncertainty and doubt, and hope in times of trouble. Grant her joy in the birth of her child.

To mothers You have given the great privilege and responsibility of being a child's first teacher and spiritual guide. Grant that all mothers may worthily foster the faith of their children, following the example of Mary, Elizabeth, and other holy women who follow Christ. Help mothers to grow daily in knowledge and understanding of Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and grant them the wisdom to impart this knowledge faithfully to their children, and to all who depend upon them.

Assist all "spiritual mothers", those who, though they may have no children of their own, nevertheless selflessly care for the children of others -- of every age and state in life. Grant that they may know the joy of fulfilling this motherly calling of women, whether in teaching, nursing, religious life, or in other work which recognizes and fosters the true dignity of every human being created in Your image and likeness.

We beseech You to send Your Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to all mothers who sorrow for children that have died, are ill or estranged from their families, or who are in trouble or danger of any kind. Help grieving mothers to rely on Your tender mercy and fatherly love for all your children.

We ask your blessing on all those to whom You have entrusted motherhood. May Your Holy Spirit constantly inspire and strengthen them. May they ever follow the example of Mary, mother of Our Lord, and imitate her fidelity, her humility, and her self-giving love. May all mothers receive Your Grace abundantly in this earthly life, and may they look forward to eternal joy in Your presence in the life to come.

We ask this through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. AMEN.

_______________________

 

Illustration: Madonna and Holy Child with Fledgling Dove - pencil drawing - hhhitchcock


From the Rite for the Blessing of an Unborn Child in the Womb
(USCCB 2012)

Prayer for the Mother

God, author of all life,
bless, we pray, this unborn child;
give constant protection
and grant a healthy birth
that is the sign of our rebirth one day
into the eternal rejoicing of heaven.
Lord, who have brought to this woman
the wondrous joy of motherhood,
grant her comfort in all anxiety
and make her determined
to lead her child along the ways of salvation.

(original 2008 draft of this prayer)


26 posted on 05/11/2014 7:53:29 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: All
Information: St. Francis of Girolamo

Feast Day: May 11

Born: 17 December 1642 at Grottaglie, Apulia, near Taranto, Italy

Died: 11 May 1716 at Naples, Italy

Canonized: 26 May 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI

Patron of: Grottaglie, Italy

27 posted on 05/11/2014 8:03:13 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: Salvation
John
  English: Douay-Rheims Latin: Vulgata Clementina Greek NT: Byzantine/Majority Text (2000)
  John 10
1 AMEN, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. Amen, amen dico vobis : qui non intrat per ostium in ovile ovium, sed ascendit aliunde, ille fur est et latro. αμην αμην λεγω υμιν ο μη εισερχομενος δια της θυρας εις την αυλην των προβατων αλλα αναβαινων αλλαχοθεν εκεινος κλεπτης εστιν και ληστης
2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. Qui autem intrat per ostium, pastor est ovium. ο δε εισερχομενος δια της θυρας ποιμην εστιν των προβατων
3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. Huic ostiarius aperit, et oves vocem ejus audiunt, et proprias ovas vocat nominatim, et educit eas. τουτω ο θυρωρος ανοιγει και τα προβατα της φωνης αυτου ακουει και τα ιδια προβατα καλει κατ ονομα και εξαγει αυτα
4 And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. Et cum proprias oves emiserit, ante eas vadit : et oves illum sequuntur, quia sciunt vocem ejus. και οταν τα ιδια προβατα εκβαλη εμπροσθεν αυτων πορευεται και τα προβατα αυτω ακολουθει οτι οιδασιν την φωνην αυτου
5 But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers. Alienum autem non sequuntur, sed fugiunt ab eo : quia non noverunt vocem alienorum. αλλοτριω δε ου μη ακολουθησωσιν αλλα φευξονται απ αυτου οτι ουκ οιδασιν των αλλοτριων την φωνην
6 This proverb Jesus spoke to them. But they understood not what he spoke to them. Hoc proverbium dixit eis Jesus : illi autem non cognoverunt quid loqueretur eis. ταυτην την παροιμιαν ειπεν αυτοις ο ιησους εκεινοι δε ουκ εγνωσαν τινα ην α ελαλει αυτοις
7 Jesus therefore said to them again: Amen, amen I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. Dixit ergo eis iterum Jesus : Amen, amen dico vobis, quia ego sum ostium ovium. ειπεν ουν παλιν αυτοις ο ιησους αμην αμην λεγω υμιν οτι εγω ειμι η θυρα των προβατων
8 All others, as many as have come, are thieves and robbers: and the sheep heard them not. Omnes quotquot venerunt, fures sunt, et latrones, et non audierunt eos oves. παντες οσοι ηλθον κλεπται εισιν και λησται αλλ ουκ ηκουσαν αυτων τα προβατα
9 I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved: and he shall go in, and go out, and shall find pastures. Ego sum ostium. Per me si quis introierit, salvabitur : et ingredietur, et egredietur, et pascua inveniet. εγω ειμι η θυρα δι εμου εαν τις εισελθη σωθησεται και εισελευσεται και εξελευσεται και νομην ευρησει
10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. Fur non venit nisi ut furetur, et mactet, et perdat. Ego veni ut vitam habeant, et abundantius habeant. ο κλεπτης ουκ ερχεται ει μη ινα κλεψη και θυση και απολεση εγω ηλθον ινα ζωην εχωσιν και περισσον εχωσιν

28 posted on 05/11/2014 8:06:09 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Interactive Saints for Kids

St. Ignatius of Laconi

Feast Day: May 11
Born: 1701 :: Died: 1781

Ignatius was born at Laconi, Sardinia in Italy. He was the son of a poor farmer with seven children and Ignatius grew up working in the fields. When he was about seventeen, he became very ill and Ignatius promised God he would become a Franciscan if he got cured. But when the illness left him, his father convinced him to wait.

Two years later, Ignatius was almost killed when he lost control of his horse. But suddenly, the horse stopped and trotted on quietly. Ignatius was certain, then, that God had saved his life. He made up his mind to follow his religious calling and became a Franciscan friar at once.

Brother Ignatius never had any important position in the Franciscan order. For fifteen years he worked in the weaving shed. Then, for forty years, he was part of the team who went from house to house asking for food and donations to support the friars.

Ignatius visited families and received their gift. But the people soon realized that they received a gift in return. Brother Ignatius consoled the sick and lonely and cheered the children of the street. He made peace between enemies, softened the hearts of people that had become hardened by sin and advised those in trouble. They began to wait for his visits.

There were some difficult days, too. Once in a while, a door was slammed in his face, and often the weather was bad. Always, there were miles and miles to walk. But Ignatius did his duty well.

People noticed that Ignatius always skipped the house of a rich moneylender. This man never forgave a debt and made the poor pay back much more than they could afford. He felt bad because Ignatius never visited his home to ask for donations and complained to Brother Ignatius' superior.

The superior knew nothing about the moneylender so he sent Ignatius to his home. Brother Ignatius obeyed without a word. He returned with a large sack of food. It was then that God worked a miracle. When the sack was emptied, blood dripped out.

"This is the blood of the poor," Ignatius explained softly. "That is why I never ask for anything at that house." The friars began to pray that the moneylender would repent. Brother Ignatius died at the age of eighty, on May 11, 1781.


29 posted on 05/11/2014 8:06:23 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: annalex
1. Verily, verily, I say to you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2. But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
3. To him the porter opens;
and the sheep hear his voice:
and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out.
4. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
5. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

CHRYS. Our Lord having reproached the Jews with blindness, they might have said, We are not blind, but we avoid you as a deceiver. Our Lord therefore gives the marks which distinguish a robber and deceiver from a true shepherd. First come those of the deceiver and robber: Verily, verily, I say to you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

There is an allusion here to Antichrist, and to certain false Christs who had been, and were to be. The Scriptures He calls the door. They admit us to the knowledge of God, they protect the sheep, they shut out the wolves, they bar the entrance to heretics. He that uses not the Scriptures, but climbs up some other way, i.e. some self-chosen, some unlawful way, is a thief. Climbs up, He says, not, enters, as if it were a thief getting over a wall, and running all risks.

Some other way, may refer too to the commandments and traditions of men which the Scribes taught, to the neglect of the Law. When our Lord further on calls Himself the Door, we need not be surprised. According to the office which He bears, He is in one place the Shepherd, in another the Sheep. In that He introduces us to the Father, He is the Door, in that He takes care of us, He is the Shepherd.

AUG. Or thus: Many go under the name of good men according to the standard of the world, and observe in some sort the commandments of the Law, who yet are not Christians. And these generally boast of themselves, as the Pharisees did; Are we blind also? But inasmuch as all that they do they do foolishly, without knowing to what end it tends, our Lord said of them, Verily, verily, I say to you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Let the Pagans then, the Jews, the Heretics, say, "We lead a good life;" if they enter not by the door, what avails it? A good life only profits, as leading to life eternal. Indeed those cannot be said to lead a good life, who are either blindly ignorant of, or willfully despise, the end of good living. No one can hope for eternal life, who knows not Christ, who is the life, and by that door enters into the fold.

Whoso wishes to enter into the sheepfold, let him enter by the door; let him preach Christ; let him seek Christ's glory, not his own. Christ is a lowly door, and he who enters by this door must be lowly, if he would enter with his head whole. He that does not humble, but exalt himself, who wishes to climb up over the wall, is exalted that he may fall. Such men generally try to persuade others that they may live well, and not be Christians. Thus they climb up by some other way, that they may rob and kill. They are thieves, because they call that their own, which is not; robbers, because that which they have stolen, they kill.

CHRYS. You have seen His description of a robber, now see that of the Shepherd: But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

AUG. He enters by the door, who enters by Christ, who imitates the suffering of Christ, who is acquainted with the humility of Christ, so as to feel and know, that if God became man for us, man should not think himself God, but man. He who being man wishes to appear God, does not imitate Him, who being God, became man. You are bid to think less of yourself than you are, but to know what you are.

To Him the porter opens.

CHRYS. The porter perhaps is Moses; for to him the oracles of God were committed.

THEOPHYL. Or, the Holy Spirit is the porter, by whom the Scriptures are unlocked, and reveal the truth to us.

AUG. Or, the porter is our Lord Himself; for there is much less difference between a door and a porter, than between a door and a shepherd. And He has called Himself both the door and the shepherd. Why then not the door and the porter? He opens Himself, i.e. reveals Himself. If you seek another person for porter, take the Holy Spirit, of whom our Lord below said, He will guide you into all truth. The door is Christ, the Truth; who opens the door, but He that will guide you into all Truth? Whomsoever you understand here, beware that you esteem not the porter greater than the door; for in our houses the porter ranks above the door, not the door above the porter.

CHRYS. As they had called Him a deceiver, and appealed to their own unbelief as the proof of it; (Which of the rulers believes in Him?) He shows here that it was because they refused to hear Him, that they were put out of His flock. The sheep hear His voice. The Shepherd enters by the lawful door; and they who follow Him are His sheep; they who do not, voluntarily put themselves out of His flock.

And He calls His own sheep by name.

AUG. He knew the names of the predestinated; as He said to His disciples, Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

And leads them out.

CHRYS. He led out the sheep, when He sent them not out of the reach of, but into the midst of, the wolves. There seems to he a secret allusion to the blind man. He called him out of the midst of the Jews; and he heard His voice.

AUG. And who is He who leads them out, but the Same who loosens the chain of their sins, that they may follow Him with free unfettered step?

GLOSS. And when He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, He leads them out from the darkness of ignorance into light, while He goes before in the pillar of cloud, and fire.

CHRYS. Shepherds always go behind their sheep; but He, on the contrary, goes before, to show that He would lead all to the truth.

AUG. And who is this that goes before the sheep, but He who being raised from the dead, dies no more; and who said, Father, I will also that they, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am?

And the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.

CHRYS. The strangers are Theudas, and Judas, and the false apostles who came after Christ. That He might not appear one of this number, He gives many marks of difference between Him and them. First, Christ brought men to Him by teaching them out of the Scriptures; they drew men from; the Scriptures. Secondly, the obedience of the sheep; for men believed on Him, not only during His life, but after death: their followers ceased, as soon as they were gone.

THEOPHYL. He alludes to Antichrist, who shall deceive for a time, but lose all his followers when he dies.


Still I am disturbed by the Lord's rebuke to the shepherds in Ezekiel, Neither have you brought again that which strayed. He calls it a stray sheep, but yet a sheep all the while; though, if it strayed, it could not have heard the voice of the Shepherd, but the voice of a stranger.

What I say then is this; The Lord knows them that are His. He knows the foreknown, he knows the predestinated. They are the sheep: for a time they know not themselves, but the Shepherd knows them; for many sheep are without the fold, many wolves within. He speaks then of the predestinated. And now the difficulty is solved. The sheep do hear the Shepherd's voice, and they only. When is that? It is when that voice said, He that endures to the end shall be saved. This speech His own hear, the alien hear not.

6. This parable spoke Jesus to them: but they understood not what things they were which he spoke to them.

AUG. Our Lord feeds by plain words, exercises by obscure. For when two persons, one godly, the other ungodly, hear the words of the Gospel, and they happen to be such that neither can understand them; one says, What He said is true and good, but we do not understand it: the other says, It is not worth attending to. The former, in faith, knocks, yes, and, if he continue to knock, it shall be opened to him. The latter shall hear the words in Isaiah, If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established.

7. Then said Jesus to them again, Verily, verily, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.
8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
10. The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

CHRYS. Our Lord, to waken the attention of the Jews, unfolds the meaning of what He has said; Then said Jesus to them again, Verily, verily, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

AUG. Lo, the very door which He had shut up, He opens; He is the Door: let us enter, and let us enter with joy.

All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers.

CHRYS. He said not this of the Prophets, as the heretics think, but of Theudas, and Judas, and other agitators. So he adds in praise of the sheep, The sheep heard them not; but he no where praises those who disobeyed the prophets, but condemns them severely.


The times are different, the faith is the same. Our faith knits together both those who believed that He was about to come, and those who believe that He has come. All that ever came at variance with Him were thieves and robbers; i.e. they came to steal and to kill; but the sheep did not hear them. They had not Christ's voice; but were wanderers, dreamers, deceivers. Why He is the Door, He next explains, I am the Door; by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved.

ALCUIN. As if to say, The sheep hear not them, but Me they hear; for I am the Door, and whoever enters by Me not falsely but in sincerity, shall by perseverance be saved.

THEOPHYL. The door admits the sheep into the pasture; And shall go in and out, and find pasture. What is this pasture, but the happiness to come, the rest to which our Lord brings us?

AUG. What is this, shall go in and out? To enter into the Church by Christ the Door, is a very good thing, but to go out of the Church is not. Going in must refer to inward cogitation; going out to outward action; as in the Psalm, Man goes forth to his work.

THEOPHYL. Or, to go in is to watch over the inner man; to go out, to mortify the outward man, i.e. our members which are upon the earth. He that does this shall find pasture in the life to come.

CHRYS. Or, He refers to the Apostles who went in and out boldly; for they became the masters of the world, none could turn them out of their kingdom, and they found pasture.

AUG. But He Himself explains it more satisfactorily to me in what follows: The thief comes not, but for to steal, and for to kill: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

By going in they have life; i.e. by faith, which works by love; by which faith they go into the fold. The just lives by faith. And by going out they will have it more abundantly: i.e. when true believers die, they have life more abundantly, even a life which never ends. Though in this fold there is not wanting pasture, then they will find pasture, such as will satisfy them. Today shall you be with Me in paradise.

GREG. Shall go in, i.e. to faith: shall go out, i.e. to sight: and find pasture, i.e. in eternal fullness.

ALCUIN. The thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill. As if He said, And well may the sheep not hear the voice of the thief; for he comes not but for to steal: he usurps another's office, forming his followers not on Christ's precepts, but on his own. And therefore it follows, and to kill, i.e. by drawing them from the faith; and to destroy, i.e. by their eternal damnation.

CHRYS. The thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy; this was literally fulfilled in the case of those movers of sedition, whose followers were nearly all destroyed; deprived by the thief even of this present life. But came, He said, for the salvation of the sheep; That they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly, in the kingdom of heaven. This is the third mark of difference between Himself, and the false prophets.

THEOPHYL. Mystically, the thief is the devil, steals by wicked thoughts, kills by the assent of the mind to them, and destroys by acts.

Catena Aurea John 10
30 posted on 05/11/2014 8:06:40 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: annalex


The Good Shepherd

31 posted on 05/11/2014 8:07:04 AM PDT by annalex (fear them not)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: All

Psalms, chapter 23

 

«


View all books of the Bible

PSALM 23*

The Lord, Shepherd and Host

1A psalm of David.

I

The LORD is my shepherd;*

there is nothing I lack.a

2In green pastures he makes me lie down;

to still waters he leads me;

3bhe restores my soul.

He guides me along right paths*

for the sake of his name.

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,c

I will fear no evil, for you are with me;

your rod and your staff comfort me.

II

5*You set a table before me

in front of my enemies;*

You anoint my head with oil;*d

my cup overflows.e

6Indeed, goodness and mercy* will pursue me

all the days of my life;

I will dwell in the house of the LORDf

for endless days.

* [Psalm 23] God’s loving care for the psalmist is portrayed under the figures of a shepherd for the flock (Ps 23:14) and a host’s generosity toward a guest (Ps 23:56). The imagery of both sections is drawn from traditions of the exodus (Is 40:11; 49:10; Jer 31:10).

* [23:1] My shepherd: God as good shepherd is common in both the Old Testament and the New Testament (Ez 34:1116; Jn 10:1118).

* [23:3] Right paths: connotes “right way” and “way of righteousness.”

* [23:5] You set a table before me: this expression occurs in an exodus context in Ps 78:19. In front of my enemies: my enemies see that I am God’s friend and guest. Oil: a perfumed ointment made from olive oil, used especially at banquets (Ps 104:15; Mt 26:7; Lk 7:37, 46; Jn 12:2).

* [23:6] Goodness and mercy: the blessings of God’s covenant with Israel.

a. [23:1] Ps 80:2; 95:7; 100:3; Dt 2:7.

b. [23:3] Prv 4:11.

c. [23:4] Jb 10:2122; Is 50:10.

d. [23:5] Ps 92:11.

e. [23:5] Ps 16:5.

f. [23:6] Ps 27:4.


32 posted on 05/11/2014 11:50:10 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: All
CATHOLIC ALMANAC

Sunday, May 11

Liturgical Color: White

Today is the Memorial of St. Ignatius of
Laconi, Religious. St. Ignatius’ job was to beg
for food for the friary. Even the poor wanted
to give from their need because of his holiness.
He died in 1781. (Franciscan)

33 posted on 05/11/2014 11:59:30 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: All

Day 147 - How important is the Eucharist for the Church? // What names are there for Jesus' meal with us?

How important is the Eucharist for the Church?

The celebration of the Eucharist is the heart of the Christian communion. In it the Church becomes Church.

We are not Church because we get along well, or because we happen to end up in the same parish community, but rather because in the Eucharist we receive the Body of Christ and are increasingly being transformed into the Body of Christ.


What names are there for Jesus' meal with us, and what do they mean?

The different names indicate the unfathomable richness of this mystery: the Holy Sacrifice, Holy Mass, the Sacrifice of the Massthe Lord's Supperthe Breaking of Breadthe Eucharistic assemblythe memorial of the Lord's Passion, death, and Resurrection the Holy and Divine Liturgy, the Sacred Mysteries Holy Communion.

Holy Sacrifice, Holy Mass, the Sacrifice of the Mass: The one sacrifice of Christ, which completes and surpasses all sacrifices, is made present in the celebration of the Eucharist. The Church and the faithful, through their self-offering, unite themselves with Christ's sacrifice. The word Mass comes from the Latin dismissal, Ite, missa est, "Go now, you are sent."

The Lord's Supper: Every celebration of the Eucharist is still the one supper that Christ celebrated with his disciples and, at the same time, the anticipation of the banquet that the Lord will celebrate with the redeemed at the end of time. We men do not make the worship service; the Lord is the one who calls us to worship God and is mysteriously present in the liturgy.

The breaking of bread: "The breaking of bread" was an old Jewish ritual at meals, which Jesus employed at the Last Supper to express his gift of self "for us" (Rom 8:32). In the "breaking of bread" the disciples recognized him again after the Resurrection. The early Church called their liturgical feasts "the breaking of bread".

Eucharistic assembly: The celebration of the Lord's Supper is also an assembly of "thanksgiving", in which the Church finds her visible expression.

Memorial of the Lord's Passion, death, and Resurrection: In the celebration of the Eucharist, the congregation does not celebrate itself; rather it discovers and celebrates again and again the presence of Christ's saving passage through suffering and death to life.

Holy and Divine Liturgy, Sacred Mysteries: In the celebration of the Eucharist, the Church in heaven and on earth unite in one feast. Because the Eucharistic Gifts in which Christ is present are, so to speak, the holiest thing in the world, we also speak about the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Holy Communion: Because we unite ourselves with Christ at Holy Mass, and through him are united with one another, we speak about Holy Communion (communio = fellowship). (YOUCAT questions 211-212)

Dig Deeper: CCC section (1328-1332) and other references here.


34 posted on 05/11/2014 12:28:35 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: All

Part 2: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery (1066 - 1690)

Section 2: The Seven Sacraments of the Church (1210 - 1690)

Chapter 1: The Sacraments of Christian Initiation (1212 - 1419)

Article 3: The Sacrament of the Eucharist (1322 - 1419)

II. WHAT IS THIS SACRAMENT CALLED?

1082
1359
2637
(all)

1328

The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called:

Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharistein141 and eulogein142 recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim — especially during a meal — God's works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.

141.

Cf. Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24.

142.

Cf. Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22.

1348
1382
790
(all)

1329

The Lord's Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem.143

The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meal, when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread,144 above all at the Last Supper.145 It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection,146 and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies;147 by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him.148

The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church.149

143.

Cf. 1 Cor 11:20; Rev 19:9.

144.

Cf. Mt 14:19; 15:36; Mk 8:6, 19.

145.

Cf. Mt 26:26; 1 Cor 11:24.

146.

Cf. Lk 24:13-35.

147.

Cf. Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7,11.

148.

Cf. 1 Cor 10:16-17.

149.

Cf. 1 Cor 11:17-34.

1169
1341
2643
614
(all)

1330

The memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection.

The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering. The terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, "sacrifice of praise," spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used,150 since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant.

The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name.

150.

Heb 13:15; cf. 1 Pet 2:5; Ps 116:13, 17; Mal 1:11.

1405
948
950
(all)

1331

Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.151 We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta)152 — the first meaning of the phrase "communion of saints" in the Apostles' Creed — the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality,153 viaticum. ...

151.

Cf. 1 Cor 10:16-17.

152.

Apostolic Constitutions 8,13,12:PG 1,1108; Didache 9,5; 10:6:SCh 248,176-178.

153.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20,2:SCh 10,76.

849
(all)

1332

Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives.


35 posted on 05/11/2014 12:29:55 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: All
Catholic Culture

 

Daily Readings for:May 11, 2014
(Readings on USCCB website)

Collect: Almighty ever-living God, lead us to a share in the joys of heaven, so that the humble flock may reach where the brave Shepherd has gone before. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

RECIPES

o    Spring or Summer Sunday Dinner (Sample Menu)

ACTIVITIES

o    Can Catholic Parents Thwart a Religious Vocation?

PRAYERS

o    Prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life

o    Book of Blessings: Blessing Before and After Meals: Easter Season (2nd Plan)

o    Book of Blessings: Blessing Before and After Meals: Easter (1st Plan)

o    Serran Prayer for Vocations

·         Easter: May 11th

·         Fourth Sunday of Easter

Old Calendar: Third Sunday after Easter

"I tell you most solemnly, I am the gate of the sheepfold. All others who have come are thieves and brigands; but the sheep took no notice of them. I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe: he will go freely in and out and be sure of finding pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full."

Click here for commentary on the readings in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.


Sunday Readings
The first reading is taken from the Acts of the Apostles 2:14, 36-41 and if taken together with that of the following Sunday provides an alternative theme in exploring the preaching of the early Church in the persons of Paul and Barnabas. The mission first to the Jews is now to be placed second to the mission to the Gentiles, — a theme which the reading for next Sunday also explores with the warning of the preachers that those who follow the Lord will necessarily have to endure trial and sufferings. — A Celebrants Guide to the New Sacramentary - A Cycle by Kevin W. Irwin

The second reading is from the first Letter of Peter 2:20-25. In these verses today, St. Peter is giving advice to Christians who were slaves. He tells them to be submissive to their masters with all respect.

The Gospel is from St. John 10:1-10. One of the oldest paintings of Christ, in the Roman catacombs, represents Christ as carrying the injured, straying sheep gently on His shoulders back to the sheepfold. This is an image of Christ which has always appealed to Christians. We have Christ as our shepherd—He tells us so himself in today's gospel—and we do not resent being called sheep in this context. There is something guileless about a sheep, and at the same time a lot of foolishness! But with Christ as our shepherd and the "good shepherd" who is sincerely interested in the true welfare of His flock we have reason to rejoice.

The leaders of the Jews, the Pharisees and Sadducees, were false shepherds who tried to prevent the people from following Jesus, but they failed. They then killed the shepherd but in vain. He rose from the dead and His flock increased by the thousands and will keep increasing until time ends.

We surely are fortunate to belong to the sheepfold of Christ—His Church. We surely are blessed to have the Son of God as our Shepherd, who came among us in order to lead us to heaven. Do we fully appreciate our privileged position? Do we always live up to our heavenly vocation? We know His voice, we know what He asks of us, but do we always listen to that voice, do we always do what He asks of us?

There are many among us today who foolishly think they need no shepherd. They think they know all the facts of life while they are in total ignorance of the most basic fact of all, namely, the very purpose of life. Not that the thought of it does not arise disturbingly before their minds time and time again. But they try to smother that thought and ease their consciences by immersing themselves deeper and deeper in the affairs and the passing pleasures of this temporary life. Alas for them, a day of reckoning lies ahead, a day that is much nearer than they would like to believe. What will be their fate when they meet Christ the Judge, whom they had refused to follow and acknowledge during their days on earth?

This is a misfortune that could happen to any one of us, unless we think often of our purpose and our end in life. We have a few short years, but short though they be, we can earn for ourselves an eternity of happiness during this life. Let the straying sheep boast of their false freedom and of the passing joys they may get in this life—this freedom and these joys are mixed with much sorrow, and will end very soon. We know that if we follow the shepherd of our souls, we are on the way to the true life, the perfect life, the unending life which will have no admixture of sorrow, regret or pain. Where Christ is, there perfect happiness is, and there with God's grace we hope and trust to be.

Excerpted from The Sunday Readings by Fr. Kevin O'Sullivan, O.F.M.


36 posted on 05/11/2014 12:37:34 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: All
The Word Among Us

Meditation: Acts 2:14, 36-41

4th Sunday of Easter

They were cut to the heart. (Acts 2:37)

What a vivid image! But this is not the only place in Scripture where we see this happening. The Letter to the Hebrews says that the word of God is a “two-edged sword” that slices between “soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12). On the road to Emmaus, the disciples’ hearts burned as they heard Jesus explain the Scriptures (Luke 24:32).

Peter, the man who just fifty days ago had denied knowing Jesus, was now speaking boldly about him and what he accomplished for us on the cross. Through his preaching, he presented the people with a picture of Jesus that cut many of them to the heart and brought them to conversion.

Today, let’s try to put ourselves in the place of the people listening to Peter. Let’s fix our attention on Jesus and ask him to cut us to the heart.

Think about what it was like for Jesus before he became a man. Imagine him in the glory of heaven, surrounded by the praise of the angels. Think about what it must be like to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent—with no needs or limitations at all.

Now, in the midst of this glorious life, the Son of God freely chose to come among us. Imagine the sacrifice he made to take on human flesh. He would experience hunger, weariness, fear, loneliness, and temptation. He whom the angels adored allowed himself to be insulted, threatened, hated, and nailed to a cross. Imagine the love that moved him to do this for us. This love is the message that cut the people to the heart and moved them to ask, “What are we to do?” (Acts 2:37).

As we come to know the depth, breadth, and width of Jesus’ love, we’ll find ourselves asking the same question. “What can I do but give my heart to Jesus and follow him wherever he leads?”

“Come, Lord, and cut me to the heart. I want to know the joy and freedom of following you!”

Psalm 23:1-6; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10

Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion

(Acts 2:14, 36-41; Psalm 23:1-6; 1 Peter 2:20-25; John 10:1-10)

1. In the first reading from Acts, Peter encourages the people to “Repent and be baptized” so that they will experience “forgiveness” and “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” We as baptized Christian have also received “the gift of the Holy Spirit.” How would you describe what you have done with this gift you’ve received? In what way has it made a difference in the way you live out your life each day as a Christian? What steps can you take to allow the Holy Spirit to take a more active role in guiding and leading you?

2. The responsorial psalm, Psalm 23, reminds us of the first words spoken by John Paul II after his election as Pope: “Do not be afraid.” Even though we know that the “Lord is my Shepherd,” what are the fears that can keep you from being the Catholic Christian you are called to be?

3. In the second reading, St. Peter describes Christ’s response (“he committed no sin”) to the unjust insults and sufferings he received. What is your typical response to insults and suffering, especially when you think they are unjust? Do you think it is possible to respond in the way Jesus did? Why or why not? How do you think God wants you to respond?

4. The Gospel speaks of hearing the voice of our shepherd. In what ways does the Lord “speak” to you in prayer? How do you recognize his voice? What practical steps can you take to try to become more open to hearing the Lord’s voice during your times of prayer?

5. The Gospel also gives us an unambiguous description of Satan’s role. In contrast to the role of the Good Shepherd (or Psalm 23), Satan comes “only to steal and slaughter and destroy.” How does Satan, “the father of lies and the accuser of the brethren,” use this role to destroy relationships? How might you counter him?

6. The meditation ends with these words: “As we come to know the depth, breadth, and width of Jesus’ love, we’ll find ourselves asking the same question. ‘What can I do but give my heart to Jesus and follow him wherever he leads?’” How would you answer this question?

7. Take some time now and pray that you too would be “cut to the heart” by the “depth, breadth, and width of Jesus love.” Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.


37 posted on 05/11/2014 12:45:54 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

JESUS IS OUR GOOD SHEPHERD

(A biblical reflection on THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year A], 11 May 2014)

Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10

First Reading: Acts 2:14a,36-41; Psalms: Psalam 23:1-6; Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20b-25

gb-23

The Scripture Text
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of the strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what He was saying to them.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door, if any one enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:1-10 RSV)

Jesus, the crucified one, has been raised up, exalted at the right hand of God (Acts 2:22-28). These were the words of assurance that Peter gave the crowd that gathered on the first Christian Pentecost. Like those first believers, we too can be cut to the heart as we welcome the outpoured Spirit to move us in repentance and faith to accept the life that Jesus offers. He who “committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22) chose, out of love for us and obedience to His Father, to bear the guilt of our sin so that we might receive new life in Him.

gb-4

How could God’s love, care and protection for His people be more adequately described than by the figure of a shepherd? It was an image common to the Old Testament, drawn from pastoral life but having a particular reference to the deliverance that the Jewish people experienced during the Exodus. Now, in the age of the Church, Jesus is the Good Shepherd: the new Moses who is God’s provision for a wandering people. “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). He has come to bring life in abundance to each one of us (John 10:10). While the world offers many options that promise “life” – the pursuit of which ultimately brings disappointment and emptiness – Jesus offers an eternal life that brings us into unity with the divine life of the Trinity.

Any image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd which does not embrace the sacrificial dimensions of shepherding falls short of how Jesus understood His mission. Jesus confronted life and death, sacrificial issues that ended in His crucifixion. He was the true Shepherd because He laid down His life for us. His love is personal and intimate, and He calls each of us by name (John 10:3). In love, He sought the one who strayed and rejoiced when it was found (Luke 15:4-7).

Amidst the clamor of false claimants, those who hunger for His life will recognize His voice. Every disciple who follows Him is empowered by grace to live the same life as Jesus. We will strengthened in the daily struggle of resisting sin as we turn to the sinless one who not only leads us into abundant life, but is also the door – the way into that life.

Prayer: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. In verdant pastures He gives me repose. Beside restful waters He leads me; He refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for You are at my side. With Your rod and Your staff that give me courage. You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come (Psalm 23 NAB). Amen.

38 posted on 05/11/2014 1:06:15 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 37 | View Replies]

To: All
A Christian Pilgrim

GOOD SHEPHERD

11 May

GOOD SHEPHERD

(A biblical reflection on THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year A], 11 May 2014)

First Reading: Acts 2:14a,36-41; Psalms: Psalm 23:1-6; Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20b-25; Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10

The+Good+Shepherd%3B+Priscilla+Catacomb[1]

In the catacombs of St. Priscilla, in the northern section of Rome, you can clearly see the artistic illustrations of the faith-filled Christians of the second century. Colorful frescoes are still etched on the walls of what was originally an underground cemetery, meeting area and place of worship. One particular painting is that of the “Good Shepherd.”

The colors of red, brown and green which highlight the Shepherd are amazingly vivid after nearly 1900 years. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is wearing a rugged loose-fighting garment above the knees which extends over His left shoulder, leaving the right side of His upper body uncovered. He carries a sheep on His shoulders and is flanked by trees, birds and other sheep. His right hand is openly extended, inviting all to Him. This calm pastoral scene is bordered by a nearly perfect red circle with the Shepherd in the center.

It is inspiring to realize that the Shepherd theme which was so prevalent in the early Church is still an integral part of our religion. In fact, it is the subject of today’s liturgy.

One of the best known references to God as Shepherd in the Old Testament, Psalm 23, is read at this mass as the responsorial. We can be sure that Jesus knew and prayed this psalm. Most likely, He used it as a basis for His own teachings of the Shepherd and sheep.

We should note that the Latin word for “shepherd” is “pastor” – which designates the leader of the community of believers, the Church. The duties of the pastor are those of the shepherd: to provide food (Eucharist), lead to fresh water (Baptism), give shelter (a place to worship) and protect against enemies (prayer and education). The shepherd of each church is called to model his or her role on that of the Good Shepherd.

Jesus ultimately is the Shepherd of all of us, who lavishes affection on each. He Himself said that the true test for the genuine pastor is to lay down His life for those in His care. This Jesus personally did for us. He took up His life again as He had promised, and now leads us on toward a better and eternal pasture.

In our journey through the valley of darkness, we can all individually pray with the psalmist: “The Lord is my shepherd … He guides me in right paths … I fear no evil … There is nothing I shall want.” Regardless of our various roles and titles in the Church, we are all members of the one flock and have but one Shepherd. He alone is in center place, surrounded by His redeemed creation, as pictured in the catacombs. The Lord is my Pastor.

Source: Rev. James McKarns, GO TELL EVERYONE, Makati, Philippines: St. Paul Publications, 1991, pages 29-30.


39 posted on 05/11/2014 1:09:47 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: All

Marriage=One Man and One Woman 'Til Death Do Us Part

Daily Marriage Tip for May 11, 2014:

“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly,” says Jesus. (Jn 10:10) Mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, and spiritual mothers: how can you help those entrusted to your care experience abundant life?

40 posted on 05/11/2014 1:22:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: All
Sunday Scripture Study

Scripture  Study

  Fourth Sunday of Easter – Cycle A 

 

Acts 2:14a, 36-41                  (Ps 23:13a, 3b-6)                     1 Peter 2:20-25                 J John   1 10 0: :1 1- -1 10 0 

Overview of the Gospel:

• This Sunday’s gospel takes place right after Jesus’ healing of the blind man which we heard about on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (John 9:1-41). He is addressing this present discourse to the Pharisees who reacted with hostility to both Jesus and the blind man as a result of that healing. • The theme of God as the shepherd of Israel runs all through the Old Testament (Psalm 23:1-4, 80:1; Genesis 48:15, 49:24; Micah 7:14). Among the leaders of Israel there were good shepherds, like David (1 Samuel 17:34-36) as well as bad (Jeremiah 23:1-6).

• The Old Testament also promised that God would one day replace these corrupt leaders and shepherd his people himself (Ezekiel 34:11-16; Isaiah 40:11).  Jesus often described himself in pastoral terms as a shepherd who sought out the lost sheep and carried them home to rejoicing (Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:4-7; John 10). He also used the image of a shepherd in many of his other teachings (Matthew 7:15, 9:36, 25:32-33; Mark 14:27; John 21:16-17), as did the early Church (Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25). . Questions:

• In the 1st Reading, Jesus is not called a “shepherd”, but he is given another title (see verses 36 and 39). What promise is given to those who repent of their sins and call upon his name?

• In the 2nd examples, what kind of example did Jesus set for us? What did he do for us that enables us to return to him as our Good Shepherd (see verse 24)? 

• In the Gospel Reading, what do the sheep, shepherd, the sheepfold, and the stranger represent? How does the story of healing of the blind man in chapter 9 provide one example of what this story is about?

• How do the sheep respond to the shepherd? How does this relate to the Pharisees’ understanding of Jesus?

• What does Jesus mean by likening himself to a gate for the sheepfold? Who are these “thieves and robbers”? How is Jesus unlike them?

• How does Jesus’ death relate to his promise in verse 10? How does Jesus identify himself with the “good shepherd” (verses 11-15)?

• What was the turning point for you in terms of hearing “God’s voice” and responding? How do you discern his voice from all the other voices that vie for your attention? • How does it make you feel to think of God caring for you as the Good Shepherd? 

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  §§ 753-754, 764, 2157-2158 

 

I, with [Jesus] Who is always by my side and in my heart, should I be afraid?   --St. Rose of Lima 


41 posted on 05/11/2014 1:48:56 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: All

The Voice of the Shepherd

Pastor’s Column

Good Shepherd Sunday

May 11, 2014

 

“A thief comes only to steal and to slaughter and to destroy. I came that they might have life, and have it more abundantly. John 10:10

 

Every year on the fourth Sunday of Easter, Christ comes to us as the Good Shepherd. It is a comforting image. How many have been consoled by praying over the 23rd Psalm: “The Lord Is My Shepherd There Is Nothing I Shall Want.”

One of the dynamics between a flock of sheep and a shepherd who cares for them is that the sheep get to know the shepherd and trust him. They recognize his voice and will respond to it, whereas other voices frighten them and may cause them to run away.

So Jesus tells us to get to know the voice of the Shepherd and to beware of other voices which do not lead to life. How do we recognize Christ’s voice in our life? Most of us have never heard Christ speak to us directly. How do we know it is Christ speaking to us? When it is Jesus who speaks, his voice leads us to holiness, to encouragement, to courage.

One of the best ways to know we are listening to God in our lives is if we are exhibiting the fruits of the Holy Spirit. What are these fruits? According to St. Paul, they include things such as joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, self-control, chastity.

Whereas when we yield to a voice that is not from God, what shows up are behaviors like selfishness, unforgiveness, jealousy, sinful yielding to anger, blasphemy, vulgarity, sexual immorality and a life of unfruitfulness or unkindness to other people.

It is critical in our spiritual lives to recognize which voices we are listening to. In our culture, the media delivers anything we want and sometimes we don’t realize that what we’re listening to is deadly. Taking in pornography is deadly to our soul and quite possibly our marriage. If all I take in are secular newscasts and websites, I will be getting all of my spiritual theology from secular sources.

Since most of us get our news online these days, what online Catholic new sources do I look at? I personally get a number of Catholic magazines as well as subscribe to Catholic News Agency and Zenit in order to hear what the pope has to say each day.

You might say to me: “Of course you do, because you are a priest.” Well, I haven’t always been a priest, but I’ve subscribed to these things for many years before entering the seminary. Catholic news helps form us. The wrong kind of news can deform us.

Whose voice am I listening to? Is it the voice of the Good Shepherd? Or is it the voice of the evil one? The Lord wants us to learn to discern this by the fruits of our lives. Is my life fruitful or is it lacking in fruit?

                                                                        Father Gary


42 posted on 05/11/2014 2:06:13 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: All
Reflections from Scott Hahn

What Are We to Do? Scott Hahn Reflects on the Fourth Sunday of Easter

Posted by Dr. Scott Hahn on 05.09.14 |

 

Readings:
Acts 2:14, 36-41
Psalm 23:1-6
1 Peter 2:20-25
John 10:1-10

Easter’s empty tomb is a call to conversion.

By this tomb, we should know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as Peter preaches in today’s First Reading.

He is the “Lord,” the divine Son that David foresaw at God’s right hand (see Psalms 110:1,3; 132:10-11; Acts 2:34). And He is the Messiah that God had promised to shepherd the scattered flock of the house of Israel (see Ezekiel 34:11-14, 23; 37:24).

As we hear in today’s Gospel, Jesus is that Good Shepherd, sent to a people who were like sheep without a shepherd (see Mark 6:34; Numbers 27:16-17). He calls not only to the children of Israel, but to all those far off from Him - to whomever the Lord wishes to hear His voice.

The call of the Good Shepherd leads to the restful waters of Baptism, to the anointing oil of Confirmation, and to the table and overflowing cup of the Eucharist, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

Again on this Sunday in Easter, we hear His voice calling us His own. He should awaken in us the response of those who heard Peter’s preaching. “What are we to do?” they cried.

We have been baptized. But each of us goes astray like sheep, as we hear in today’s Epistle. We still need daily to repent, to seek forgiveness of our sins, to separate ourselves further from this corrupt generation.

We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Shepherd of our souls. By His suffering He bore our sins in His body to free us from sin. But His suffering is also an example for us. From Him we should learn patience in our afflictions, to hand ourselves over to the will of God.

Jesus has gone ahead, driven us through the dark valley of evil and death. His Cross has become the narrow gate through which we must pass to reach His empty tomb - the verdant pastures of life abundant.


43 posted on 05/11/2014 2:24:09 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 42 | View Replies]

To: All
The Sacred Page

"The Good Shepherd": The Readings for the Fourth Sunday after Easter

Image of Christ the Good Shepherd
from Catacombs of St. Pricilla in Rome
ca. 3rd cent.

This Sunday the lectionary turns our attention to John 10, where Christ describes himself as both the "door" of the sheepfold and (perhaps more famously) as the good shepherd. 

 

These two images are key to understanding the selection of the first and second readings, which focus on (1) Peter's speech, highlighting the way salvation is found in Christ and (2) a reading from 1 Peter which climaxes in a description of Christ's role as the Good Shepherd. 


Let us look at these readings more carefully. . .

FIRST READING: Acts 2:14a, 36-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.

The context of the first reading in the book of Acts is Pentecost. Peter is here giving the inaugural sermon of the ministry of the post-Easter apostolic mission. Here are a few things worth noting about this reading.


1. Peter addresses "the whole house of Israel". This is significant as it indicates that the mission of the twelve is to announce the good news to all the tribes of Israel. Of course, Israel had originally consisted of twelve tribes.

The language of "the whole house of Israel" seems to evoke hopes for the restoration of all twelve tribes. The terminology evokes the usage of "all Israel" [πᾶς Ἰσραὴλ] in the Old Testament and non-canonical Jewish literature. For that I recommend an excellent article by James M. Scott, “All Israel Will Be Saved.”[1]

Scott shows that the phrase is typically used to describe all twelve tribes. In other words, the term is typically used to identify the inclusion of the northern tribes.

2 Samuel 2:8-10: Now Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul's army, had taken Ish-bo'sheth the son of Saul, and brought him over to Mahana'im; and he made him king over Gilead and the Ash'urites and Jezreel and E'phraim and Benjamin and all Israel. Ish-bo'sheth, Saul's son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David” 

2 Samuel 5:3, 5: So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron; and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel… At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. 

2 Samuel 19:11: And King David sent this message to Zadok and Abi'athar the priests, "Say to the elders of Judah, 'Why should you be the last to bring the king back to his house, when the word of all Israel has come to the king?” 

1 Chronicles 21:5: And Jo'ab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and in Judah four hundred and seventy thousand who drew the sword. 

1 Kings 4:7: Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household; each man had to make provision for one month in the year.

In eschatological contexts, the term is especially focused on the restoration of the northern tribes with the southern house of Judah. Thus, "all Israel" means "all the tribes" of Israel--even the so-called "lost tribes". See, for example, the non-canonical book known as the Testament of Benjamin 10:11.

Therefore, my children, if you live in holiness, in accord with the Lord's commands, you shall again dwell with me in hope; all Israel will be gathered to the Lord."

For a detailed survey see James Scott's article (especially pp. 500-514).

The upshot of the analysis is that the term was related to Israel's tribal configuration. Scott states in his conclusion of the survey of Old Testament texts: "Although the term 'all Israel' can be used to denote a representative selection from the full complement of the tribes, it is never used to refer specifically to all individuals within the nation" (p. 507).

Peter's address to "the whole house of Israel" thus signals that the "Eleven"--once, the "Twelve Apostles"--are committed to their vocation, namely, to bring the Gospel to all twelve tribes of Israel.

I would suggest that they do this by going, ultimately, to the nations--it is there that the northern tribes had been scattered.*

Notably, elsewhere in Scripture the restoration of the twelve tribes from exile is described in terms of shepherding imagery. Here we have a tie-in with the Gospel reading (see below)

2. Salvation is through baptism. When the crowds are "cut to the heart", by Peter's sermon, they ask him a crucial question: "What are we to do, my brothers?" Peter's response is significant: "Repent and be baptized every one of you."

For Peter and the apostles, the proper response to the message of salvation is baptism. From the beginning, then, we see that salvation involves more than simply saying "the sinner's prayer". The restoration of Israel is accomplished through sacramental means. Indeed, we find something similar in 1 Peter where it is "baptism" that "now saves you" (1 Peter 3:21).

Here is not the proper place for a long drawn out discussion of sacramental theology. Suffice it to say, baptism illustrates that the faith that we receive by the gift of grace does not happen in an individualistic way. To be baptized means one is dependent on another; no one baptizes themselves! Faith is ecclesial. The mode of the reception of faith is also not simply determined by the whims of an individual. One receives faith through and in the whole body of Christ.

And, of course, our faith is continued to be nourished just as it was first received. Faith is maintained and strengthened through ecclesial communion.

3. 3,000 were added to their number. The number of converts won through Peter's sermon is not insignificant. However, to understand the imagery one must take a step back and understand the larger backdrop of the sermon itself.

In Acts 2, the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost is understood in terms reminiscent of the giving of the Law at Sinai in Exodus. In Acts 2, the coming of the Spirit is associated with a great sound, namely, mighty wind (Acts 2:2). This evokes the miraculous sound of a "loud trumpet blast" heard by Israel at Sinai (Ex. 19:16). Acts 2 also describes the Spirit's coming in terms of a vision of tongues of fire (Acts 2:3), imagery also reminiscent of Sinai (cf. Ex. 19:18). In addition, there is the appearance of miraculous speech in Acts 2; everyone understands the apostles in their own language (cf. Acts 2:4). This has a parallel in Exodus 19 as well; God speaks to Moses "in thunder" (Ex. 19:19).

Of course, after Israel received the law, Israel fell into the sin of idolatry. Moses commanded that the idolaters be executed. How many were executed? 3,000 (cf. Ex. 32:28). The same number of people who convert at the coming of the Spirit (cf. Acts 2:41).

The coming of the Spirit thus is similar to the giving of the Law but in one important way it goes beyond what happened at Sinai. The Spirit is given to empower believers to be righteous; through the Spirit, believers can now fulfill the just requirements of the law (to borrow language from Romans 8:4).

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 23:1-2a, 3b-4, 5, 6

R/ (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.or:R/ Alleluia.The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures he gives me repose;
beside restful waters he leads me;
he refreshes my soul.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.or:R/ Alleluia.He guides me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk in the dark valley
I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
With your rod and your staff
that give me courage.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.or:R/ Alleluia.You spread the table before me
in the sight of my foes;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.or:R/ Alleluia.Only goodness and kindness follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
for years to come.
R/ The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.or:R/ Alleluia.

Psalm 23 is perhaps the most familiar of all of the psalms. Here are a few things to point out about this psalm.

 

Literary arrangement. The psalm appears to have a two-part structure: (1) Psalm 23:1–4: The Lord as Shepherd; Psalm 23:5–6: The Lord as gracious host. John Goldingay lays out the structure of the psalm this way:

a The Lord is my shepherd (third person; vv. 1–3)

   b You are my shepherd (second person; v. 4)

   b´ You are my host (second person; v. 5)

 The Lord is my host (third person; v. 6)[2]

 

Shepherd imagery. Although this goes against the grain, it is important to point out that being a “shepherd” did not always imply that a person had a gentle disposition (cf. 1 Sam 17:34–36).[3]

The duties of a shepherd included defending the flock against aggressors (Ps 80:1–3 [2–4]; Jer 31:10), feeding and watering sheep (Isa 40:11), and find pastures (Jer 9:10 [9]; 23:10; Joel 1:19–20; etc.).

Indeed, as in Israel, the term was frequently used image for kings in the ancient Near East (e.g., Hammurabi; Cyrus [Isa 44:28]). It was also used in other cultures for deities.[4]

All of these tasks the psalmist attributes to the Lord. Incidentally, the book of Ezekiel identifies as the Lord as a kind of good shepherd who cares for his flock, while the evil ones (the corrupt leaders of Israel) fail in their task (cf. Ezek. 34:1–31).

The Shepherd’s Tools. The psalm mentions both of the shepherd’s tools. These are worth reflection upon. The two tools are primarily
1) the rod
2) the staff.

The rod is a weapon, kept in belt. It was used for striking adversaries of the sheep unto death (Exod. 21:20). Notably, the imagery is also used in connection with the Davidic king in Psalm 2, who defeats his enemies with a rod (cf. Ps 2:9).

The staff brings comfort, but in different ways. The staff could be used by the shepherd to lean upon for support (Zech 8:4). It was also used to keep sheep in order and knock down fruit.

New Exodus Imagery. The imagery of God “shepherding” evokes exodus imagery.[5] Specifically, the Lord “leads” (cf. nāhal) in verse 2, language elsewhere linked with the Exodus.

“Thou hast led in thy steadfast love the people whom thou hast redeemed, thou hast guided [nāhal] them by thy strength to thy holy abode” (Exod 15:13).

The fact that the psalm uses such imagery may point to the hope for a new exodus. In fact, the psalm uses terminology that is explicitly linked with such hopes. For example, the psalmist speaks of how God brings “comfort”—a term the prophet Isaiah famously used to describe the hope for a New Exodus (Isa 40:31). Likewise, the psalm’s imagery of the Lord feeding his people, evokes Isaiah 49:

“He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (Isa 49:11).

Moreover, new exodus hopes were typically tied to the temple, which was seen as the place Israel would be gathered at in the messianic age (e.g., Isa. 2:2). In light of the other new exodus themes, it may be significant that the psalm is ultimately ordered to temple climax (cf. v. 6: “I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come.”)

The thanksgiving meal. The fact that the psalm moves from a celebration of the Lord protecting his people to a meal has also caused some scholars to link the psalm to the tôdâ, the thanksgiving sacrifice which stands as the backdrop to other psalms (cf., e.g., the superscription of Ps 100). Ernest Lucas writes,

“The ‘thanksgiving offering’ was one form of the ‘sacrifice of well-being’ in which only part of the animal was burnt on the altar and the rest cooked and eaten at the sanctuary by the offerer and guest. Such an occasion would be an appropriate one for reciting this psalm, which in its expression of confidence in God is also an implicit expression of thanks.”[6]

In this the psalm may also be evoking new exodus imagery. Of course, the exodus was closely associated with a Passover meal, a celebration ancient Jews closely linked with the thanksgiving sacrifice. The exodus also famously climaxed with a meal with God at Mt. Sinai (cf. Exod 24:11). As many scholars have noticed, that scene seems to be in the background of messianic banquet prophecies such as that found in Isa. 25:6-8. In short, the new exodus was typically linked with the idea of a great banquet—a meal like Passover in which God’s people rejoice in celebration at table.

That the psalm uses similar imagery reinforces the possibility that the “thank offering” is in view. Indeed, the thanksgiving sacrifice—which like the Passover, climaxed in a meal—is closely associated with the new exodus (cf., e.g., Jer. 33:11).

Christological reading. In Christian tradition, the psalm has been read as describing Christ, who is presented as the “good shepherd” in Scripture. Notably, such imagery is found in the second reading and in the Gospel selection.

Sacramental readings. In Christian tradition, the psalm has also been read sacramentally. St. Thomas Aquinas offers—in addition to a literal reading—such spiritual interpretations in his commentary on Psalm 23. The green pastures the shepherd brings his flock are understood in terms of spiritual food; e.g., eucharist. The restful waters the shepherd leads his people to are connected to baptism, as is the language of “anointing”. The language of the preparation of the “table” is also linked to the Eucharistic celebration as is the language of the “cup” that “overflows”. 

 

The possible use of the thanksgiving meal imagery may also be linked to sacramental theology; the Greek word for "thanksgiving" is "eucharist".

SECOND READING: 1 Peter 2:20b-25

If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,
this is a grace before God.
For to this you have been called,
because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.
He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.
 

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;
when he suffered, he did not threaten;
instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.
He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,
so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.
For you had gone astray like sheep,
but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

The second reading here climaxes with the description of Christ as the shepherd of souls, imagery that reinforces the Responsorial Psalm and the Gospel reading.

The reading, however, highlights the way Christ is a shepherd--he gives us an example to follow.

In that capacity, Christ is depicted as a sacrifice. The language here draws heavily from Isaiah 53 and Psalm 89.

In an excellent post written for this site back in 2007, Brant discussed explained that some ancient Jewish rabbis read Psalm 89 as a description of the eschatological suffering which the Messiah himself would undergo. In particular, he looked at an image found at the end of the psalm which was picked up on by the rabbis and seen as a description of the Messiah’s eschatological sufferings: “they mock the footsteps of thy anointed” (Ps 89:51).

This is an important insight. This would seem to indicate a presence of expectations of a suffering Davidic Messiah in Jewish thought. Since it is hardly likely that this tradition was invented by Jewish writers after the Christian period, it seems more than likely that such hopes were present in Jesus’ day.

1 Peter's combination of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 89 hardly seems coincidental.

Scholars have long noted the relationship of the book of Isaiah―especially the latter part of the book―with the Psalter.[7] However, what is seldom noted is the interesting relationship between Psalm 89 and Isaiah 53. Both passages speak of the “servant” of the Lord (Ps 89:39 [40]; Isa 52:13; 53:11; Heb.:
עבֶד). In both passages this “servant” is described as being pierced or wounded [the word is the same in Hebrew: חָלַל; Ps 89:39b (40b); Isa 54:14].

The two passages also share many other literary points of contact. Both Psalm 89 and Isaiah 54 describe Israel’s experience of exile in terms
מְחִתָּה ― terror, destruction, ruin (Ps 89:40 [41]; Isa 54:14). Likewise in both contexts the strength of the Lord is described in terms of the strength or holiness of his arm (Ps 89:13-14; Isa 52:9). In addition, both contexts speak of lost “youth” (cf. Ps 89:45 [46]; Isa 54:4). One might also point out that the preceding psalm, Psalm 88, like Isaiah 53, speaks of one who is cut off:

Ps 88:6: I am reckoned among those who go down to the Pit; I am a man who has no strength, 5 like one forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave [Heb. קבֶר] like those whom thou dost remember no more, for they are cut off [Heb.: גָּזַר] from thy hand 

Isa 53:8-9: By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off [Heb.: גָּזַר] out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people?... And they made his grave [Heb. קבֶר] with the wicked…

Although it is clear the psalms were arranged at a later date than their composition, one can hardly fail to note the similarities between these two passages. Indeed, scholars already view these psalms in terms of a unit.[8]

Peter’s use of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 89From what we have seen I think it at least appears plausible that Psalm 89 was understood in connection with the traditions present in Isaiah 53. Confirmation however is found in 1 Peter. There the various threads we have followed here intertwine.

1 Peter 2:22-25 clearly describes Christ’s suffering in connection with Isaiah 53:

“He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

What is fascinating is that this allusion to Isaiah 53 is immediately preceded by what clearly seems to be an allusion to the image of the footsteps of the messiah in Psalm 89:51.

1 Pet 2:21: For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Here Peter relates the sufferings of the Messiah Jesus to the very same passage the ancient rabbis read in connection with the eschatological sufferings of the Messiah. Indeed, much could be said about 1 Peter and the eschatological sufferings―recently an entire monograph was written developing this theme in the epistle.[9] Moreover, the image of the footsteps of the Messiah from Psalm 89:51 is seamlessly conflated with allusions to Isaiah 53.

Even more, Peter links the sufferings of Christians with Jesus’ sufferings―they must walk in his steps. In other words, whether or not Isaiah 53 describes an individual or the people of God would have been a moot point for Peter―for him it describes both, since Christians have a participation in the eschatological suffering of Christ. He thus goes on to say, “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin… rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet 4:1, 13).

GOSPEL: John 10:1-10

Jesus said:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
 

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

1. Jesus as the true Shepherd. By speaking of his "sheep", Jesus, of course, uses language his audience would have been familiar with from the Old Testament. As seen above, Israel, the people of God, is described in terms of a flock.[10] 

 

Numerous examples of this from the Old Testament could be mentioned. Two that come to mind are: 

“Then he led forth his people like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock” (Ps 78:52).  

“Hear the word of the Lord, O nations, and declare it in the coastlands afar off; say, ‘He who scattered Israel will gather him, and will keep him as a shepherd keeps his flock.’” (Jer 31:10) 

Of course, different Old Testament figures are described as shepherds, including, Moses [11], David [12], and the Messiah [13]. Obviously, the primary shepherd of Israel is God.[14] Of course, John makes it clear that Jesus is not only the Messiah, the Son of David (John 1:49), but also that he is God (e.g., John 1:1).

 

2. An Allusion to Ezekiel 34 and a condemnation of the wicked leaders. By describing himself as the "good" shepherd Jesus seems to implicitly be calling attention to the the fact that the Jewish rulers are bad shepherds. The imagery here may likely evoke Ezekiel 34, a passage in which God condemns the wicked leaders of Israel as wicked shepherds. Their failure, the prophet explains, has led Israel to go into exile and be scattered among the nations. The prophecy ends goes on to announce the promise of the restoration of the twelve tribes under a future Davidic messiah: "And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. (Ezek 34:23-24).

 

3. Christ as the Sheepgate. Jesus describes how he is the one gate through which the sheep enter the sheepfold. Sheepfolds built in different ways in Jesus' day. Essentially, these were different kinds of  enclosures, including, a cave (1 Sam 24:3), a square hillside made of stone walls, a roof enclosure, etc.[15] 

 

A sheepfold was carefully guarded—only the shepherd was admitted.  If the enclosure involved a stone wall, the gate would have been a heavy door in stone wall used by both people and animals. However, if the enclosure was a temporary shelter it would have had no permanent door; the shepherd would have simply slept across its opening (cf. 10:7–9). This might make sense of how Christ is both the shepherd and the "gate". 

 

4. A sacrificial flock? Some have pointed out that the word translated "sheepfold" (aulē) was a term also used to describe the temple "court" (cf. Rev. 11:2) or the "courtyard" of the high priest (John 18:15). Perhaps this is insignificant.

 

Or perhaps the imagery is meant to echo imagery used elsewhere in John to describe Jesus as the true temple (cf., e.g., John 2:19-21). Is Jesus subtly suggesting that believers enter into him as the true temple as "sheep". Is the imagery here suggesting that the believers are meant to participate in his sacrifice? After all, Christ is elsewhere described as the sacrificial lamb of God in John's Gospel (cf. John 1:29). 

 

One observation that may reinforce this imagery is the fact that Jesus goes on to describe how he lays down his life for his sheep (John 10:17)... and then describes how his sheep "follow me" (John 10:27). 

 

5. Hearing the voice of the shepherd. The Pharisees do not understand Jesus' teaching, illustrating Jesus' point that his sheep hear his voice; the Pharisees do not belong to his flock. 

 

Specifically, Christ explains that he calls his sheep "by name". The imagery points to the idea of intimacy (cf. Isa 43:1; 49:1). 

 

To be a member of Christ's flock means to be able to hear his voice--and recognize it as Christ's. The imagery points to the importance of discernment and meditation. 

 

Of course, in Catholic tradition, "hearing God's voice" is especially linked to meditation on Scripture. The Second Vatican Council explains, "“In the sacred books [of the Bible], the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them” (Dei Verbum 21). 

 

The Liturgy of the Word is crucial. It is here that we are given, "The Word of the Lord".

 

Let us ask God to give us ears to hear his voice in these readings so that we can go forward to meet him in eucharistic communion. 

 

 

 

NOTES

*Here I agree with the essence of the argument put forward by Jason Staples, "What Do the Gentiles Have to Do with "All Israel"? A Fresh Look at Romans 11:25-27," Journal of Biblical Literature 130/2 (2011): 371-90

[1] In Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish and Christian Perspectives (ed. J. M. Scott; Leiden: Brill, 2001), 489-526.

[2] John Goldingay, Psalms (3 vols.; Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006–8), 1:347.


[3] See also Midrash on Psalms 1:327.

[4] See ANET 69, 71, 72, 337, 387–88.

[5] See also Exod. 13:17, 21; 15:13; 32:34; Deut. 32:12; Neh. 9:12; Ps. 77:20 [21]; Ps. 78:14, 15.

[6] Ernest C. Lucas, Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Psalms and Wisdom Literature (vol. 3 of the Old Testament; Downers Grove, 2003), 39.

[7] In particular, we might mention that Robert Cole has noted connections between Psalm 89 and Isaiah 55: “Both vv. 4 [of Psalm 89] (Davidic covenant) and 2-3 [of Psalm 89] (faithfulness and fidelity) are brought together in the one verse of Isa. 55:3 by parallel vocabulary... (v. 55:3cd).” Robert Cole, The Shape and Message of Book III (Psalms 73-89) (England: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 209 n. 17. In addition, see Norbert Lohfink, Der Gott Israels und die Völker – Untersuchungen zum Jesajabuch und zu den Psalmen (Stuttgarter Bibel Studien 154; Katholisches Bibelwerk, 1994).

[8] See for example Cole, The Shape and Message of Book III (Psalms 73-89), 177-230. For a fuller discussion of Psalm 89 and the Jewish interpretive tradition which understood it in connection with Isaiah 53, Zechariah 9, and Psalm 88, see the excellent discussion in David Mitchell, The Message of the Psalter: An Eschatological Programme in the Book of Psalms (JSOTSupS 252; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997), 253-8.

[9] Mark Dubis, Messianic Woes in First Peter: Suffering and Eschatology in 1 Peter 4:12–19 (Studies in Biblical Literature 33; New York: Lang, 2002).

[10] The image of Israel as God’s sheep or flock is found repeatedly: Ps 74:1; 77:20; 78:52; 79:13; 80:1; 100:3; Isa 49:9; 63:11; Jer 13:17; 31:10; Zech 9:16; 10:3; L.A.B. 23:12; 30:5; 1 En. 89:16–24; 4Q266 18 5.13; Sipre Deut. 15.1.1; Exod. Rab. 24:3; Pesiq. Rab. 9:2; 26:1/2. A handful of texts also describe God shepherding all his creation (cf. Sir 18:13; Philo, Agiculture 50–53; p. Ber. 2:7).

[11] Ps 77:20; Isa 63:11; 1 En. 89:35; L.A.B. 19:3, 10; Sipre Deut. 305.3.1; p. Sanh. 10:1; Pesiq. Rab. Kah. 2:8; Exod Rab. 2:2; Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen 40:12 (Moses, Aaron and Miriam).

[12] 2 Sam 5:2; 1 Chr 11:2; Ps 78:70–72; Ezek 34:23; 37:24; 4Q504 4.6–8; Gen. Rab. 59:5.


[13] Mic 5:4; Jer 23:1–6; Ezek 34:23; Pss. Sol. 17:40; cf. Zech 13:7; Tg. Neof. 1 on Exod 12:42 (New Moses).


[14] Ps 23:1–4; 28:9; 74:1–2; 77:20; 78:52; 79:13; 80:1; 100:3; Isa 40:11; Jer 13:17; 31:10; Ezek 34:11–17; Mic 7:14; Zech 9:16; 10:3; Sir 18:13; 4Q509 4.24; 1 En. 89:18; L.A.B. 28:5; 30:5; Philo, Agriculture 50–53; b. 
ag. 3b; Pesa118a; Exod. Rab. 34:3; Lam. Rab. 1:17; Pesiq. Rab. 3:2.

[15] See Craig Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (2 vols. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2003), 809


44 posted on 05/11/2014 2:30:38 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: All

 

4th Sunday of Easter -- The Self-sacrificing Shepherd

 

 

 

"The Shepherd and guardian of your souls"

 

The Word for Sunday: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/051114.cfm



Acts 2:14a, 3
1 Peter 2:20b-25
John 10:1-10

This Sunday we are presented with an image of Jesus that was also very familiar to the earliest of Christians: Jesus as a Shepherd. Jesus is not pictured as an ordinary shepherd, he is depicted as a shepherd who cares so much about the sheep in his flock that as St. Peter tells us in the second reading: “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow.” This shepherd is humble and self-sacrificing. It’s an image that is gentle and secure.

 

Jesus himself in the Gospel says: “I am the gate.  Whoever enters through me will be saved . . . and find pasture.”  The sheep are more than just defenseless animals – they are of deep concern, every one, to the shepherd that none would be lost or harmed. So this is not an ordinary but an exceptional shepherd who cares more about the sheep than he does about his own safety or reputation.  For the early Christians, in the midst of a hostile pagan culture, to imagine Jesus as a noble or good shepherd was to have the confidence that his voice, the Way of Jesus, would protect and lead them to safety.

 

But how many daily “voices” constantly grab our attention these days?  Shepherds are not exactly among the top ten careers college graduates would look to find secure employment and a good salary. Other voices are in competition. For all the advantages and human progress these days, the deeper spiritual and moral needs of our lives remain challenged by conflicting voices.  

 

Television, personal responsibilities, cell phones, computers, children, spouses, parishioners, the Church, the constant barrage of media and news reports, movies, the normal sounds around us of daily living, and a host of more that constantly cry out for our attention.  As a people of faith, called to holiness of life, we struggle above all this present day constant din to hear the voice of God. We may often feel like sheep that are more confused and overwhelmed than confident in where we’re going.

 

However, the image of Jesus as the self-sacrificing shepherd is one that we should pay attention to.  The Way that Jesus shows us isn’t simply a direction to go but a place to go to. He provides satisfaction for the deeper needs of human living. For the morally confused, the spiritually lost, or those who feel empty in spirit, the voice of the Shepherd cries out.

 

The Pew Forum on Religious Life recently reported that a third of American adults under the age of 30 have no religious affiliation whatsoever — less religious involvement than either their parents or their grandparents. What voices have pulled them away or deafened their religious sense? Whose voice must we speak with?

 

The Gospel speaks of the “sheepfold” and the “gatekeeper” (Jesus) in whose voice we can have confidence that if we listen to Him, we will be lead to a place of safety.  The Church is that place of safety because here we encounter the noble Shepherd in both word and sacrament. Our lives are meant to be a response to a living encounter with Jesus Christ, who invites his sheep to live well.   

 

Pope Francis reminds us: “We Christians were not chosen by the Lord for small things; push onwards toward the highest principles.  Stake your lives on noble ideals.” Where do we find those “noble ideals” best taught?  By the Shepherd himself whose voice is recognized in word and sacrament and through good shepherds. While the sinfulness of God’s people remains, the Church itself is made holy by its true Shepherd.  

 

We sheep, taught by our Shepherd, have work to do. To see the Church as a living encounter with the risen Christ is shown primarily, then, though the lives of those who have found a faith home in the living community of the Church.  If we sheep truly live the Gospel in a way that is attractive to others, then we “get it.”

 

Our friendship with Jesus Christ can grow if we see our faith not as only a set of obligations but as an encounter with a living person. It’s all about the Shepherd and his Gospel way of living. Pope Francis reminds us there should be joy in the Christian way of life.

 

To keep alive his life in us by daily prayer, by embracing the Gospel as a rule of life and not just as a piece of ancient literature.  By being open to receive grace in the sacramental encounter with the risen Christ who desires that we be forgiven, healed, united, fed, and made holy through his Spirit as gift.

 

So, each of us has a purpose and a task to perform.  Each in our particular way of being Christian as married, single, ordained.  When we encounter others, what kind of Christ do they see in us?  If we invite the sheep who are lost or have at least wandered away, what will they find if they return?  The face of Jesus Christ in the community of his believers?  

 

When we sheep come together in Eucharist there we stand in the real presence of the  risen living Christ through Word and Sacrament and the faith of our brothers and sisters.  As we receive him, open to his grace and his voice in our hearts, who do we take with us when we go out to those around us?  Does the Shepherd come with us or do we leave him in the walls of the Church?

 

Almighty and ever-living God

lead us to a share in the joys of heaven,

so that the humble flock may reach

where the brave Shepherd has gone before.

(Collect for Sunday)


45 posted on 05/11/2014 2:44:13 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: All
Regnum Christi

Christ Knows and Loves His Sheep
U. S. A. | SPIRITUAL LIFE | SPIRITUALITY
Fourth Sunday of Easter

LC

 

John 10:1-10

"Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers." Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you so much for your generosity and patience in being with me today. My only desire is to please you. My heart longs to be flooded with your grace so that I may fully accomplish your will in my life.

Petition:Lord Jesus, help me to know and love you.

1. Christ Knows Me: “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3). For the Jewish people, to call someone by his name was to touch his deepest identity, his inner core. For them, a name reflected who you were; your meaning as a person. Although, as human beings, we are the fruit of our parent’s love, our soul was made and shaped directly by God. Christ made our souls! Christ knows our innermost selves. He knows not only our names, but he knows our thoughts, feelings, dreams and fears, and even our deepest desires. This fact should be a source of great peace and confidence in my prayer -- Christ does truly know what is going on in my heart. But this knowledge is not all. Christ also loves me.  

2. Christ Loves Me: Through his Incarnation, Christ  emptied himself of his heavenly glory for me! What would life be like without the Mass, without the Eucharist, without confession, without the Gospel (where we discover the path to follow), without the Church and the teachings of the Magisterium? But there was a price, a terrible and costly price for all of these benefits. Christ was asked to pour out his blood on the cross for love of me. And now, Christ turns to each one of us without exception and asks us to do the same. He asks us to be witnesses of his love in a world of darkness and despair.

 

3. Christ Offers Me Life in Abundance: By accepting Christ as my Good Shepherd I’m guaranteed to ‘find pasture.’ For a sheep this means sufficient food, safety from predators and peaceful relationships with other sheep. Jesus promises life in abundance for those who accept him. Obviously this ‘life in abundance’ doesn’t mean material wealth and success. The food, safety and peace that he promises are spiritual but no less real. Do I value what he values? Do I truly hunger for spiritual food? Or do I hanker after superficial and vain matters that could never satisfy my soul? The joy Our Lord wishes to pour into my heart can be received only if I permit my heart to be detached and emptied of whatever keeps me from him. Jesus warns us that we cannot serve two masters.

Conversation with Christ: Thank you Christ for reminding me of your great love and my vocation to imitate your love. Help me not to get in your way. Help me not to be afraid of  a life of generous service and self-giving to all the souls that you have entrusted to me.

Resolution: I will make some concrete commitment to increase both the quality and quantity of my Eucharistic life.


46 posted on 05/11/2014 3:56:24 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: All

Cut to the Heart

 

May 11, 2014
Fourth Sunday of Easter
First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
http://usccb.org/bible/readings/051114.cfm

Sometimes when you hear a great speaker, you wish you could grab his message, put it in a package and bring it home with you. We even talk of a “take home message,” being the three or four points that the speaker hopes you’ll remember. We can’t remember everything, and even if we record a speech on a digital voice recorder, we still can’t keep it in our heads all the time. So…if a message powerfully impacts us, what can we do? How can we respond? In this Sunday’s reading from Acts, St. Peter gives us the answer.

Context

This Sunday’s reading might sound like the beginning of St. Peter’s Pentecost speech, but it is actually the end. The Lectionary borrows the opening narrator’s comment to set the stage. Here Peter is cashing in the results of his scriptural argument from Joel 3 and Psalm 16 to his fellow devout Jews. He has argued that the Holy Spirit has arrived to fulfill God’s promises, that Jesus was raised from the dead in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and the concluding thesis of his speech is that God has made Jesus “both Lord and Christ.” These two terms each deserve an in-depth explanation.

Lord

Kurios can simply mean “lord” or “sir,” but here I think it brims with deeper connotations. First and foremost, it is a word for God. In fact, this word, kurios is used to translate the unpronounceable name of God in the Greek Old Testament. YHWH is translated as kurios. By saying that God made Jesus kurios, Peter is not saying that God merely granted him an extra-special title of nobility like “sir” or “duke,” but that Jesus is YHWH himself, the Lord. Secondly, kurios was a title of the Roman Emperor, the highest civil authority. While Peter is not claiming Jesus is a secular ruler, his authority does challenge (and trump) that of the pagan Roman Empire. Jesus’ kingdom will eventually triumph over all human authorities.

Christ

Christos (Christ) is the Greek word for Messiah, which means Anointed One. For us, this title sounds like religious language. One of my non-Christian friends even told me he thought “Christ” was Jesus’ last name! Christ is a title, but not just a religious one. It is a political title, for the anointed son of David. If you remember the readings from Lent, we witnessed the prophet Samuel anointing David with oil as king over Israel. The anointing is the moment at which he receives his kingly authority—kind of like a crowning or a swearing of the oath of office.

The Jews were awaiting a Messiah, a Christ, an anointed one, who would restore the Davidic throne. God had promised David that his son’s throne would be everlasting (2 Sam 7), but the Davidic kings all but disappeared after Jerusalem’s destruction in 587 BC. Attempts to restore David’s line had all failed and God’s people were looking for one that would succeed. When St. Peter tells the crowd that God appointed Jesus as christos, that means he has come to re-establish the throne of David and reign forever. However, he is not a typical king who taxes people, sends out armies and feasts sumptuously in his palace. Instead, he came as a servant king to suffer and die, then to rise again and reign from heavenly glory. His reign surpasses that of any Davidic king and even that of the Roman emperor, but it is a divine reign, a hidden reign, which secretly holds sway in the hearts of believers, but eventually will be disclosed to the whole universe.

Cut to the Heart

When Peter reminds the Pentecost crowds of his accusation—that they participated in Jesus’ crucifixion by their shouting at the last holy day gathering, Passover—they are “cut to the heart.” Luke uses this powerful phrase to explain the dynamics of repentance. He might be borrowing it from the Greek version of the Old Testament (Psalm 109:16), but it aptly describes the simultaneous impulse of searing regret and irresistible attraction entailed by repentance. The verb translated as “cut” (katanussomai) can also mean “stab” or “pierce.” The crowds who had bellowed in favor of Barabbas on that fateful Friday, now feel their hearts stung. In English, we might say that they were “cut to the quick,” literally to be cut down to the deep flesh or bone. Peter’s speech prompts a profound change in the hearts of his hearers and out of their pangs of regret they plead with him and the apostles, “What are we to do?”

“Repent and Be Baptized”

If only all preaching and evangelistic efforts were so powerful and so speedy! Fortunately, the apostles do not demur, but offer baptism as the way to repentance and new life. The disciples baptized people during Jesus’ earthly ministry (John 4:1-2), but now baptism is even more necessary to help those who stand in their sins to gain freedom in Christ. Peter tells the inquirers, “Repent and be baptized.” The conversion he calls for includes both an inner act, repentance, and an outer ceremony, baptism. Through this combination of faithful repentance and public sacrament, three thousand new believers are added to the Christian community, the disciples of Jesus.

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Notably, for Peter, baptism is not just about forgiving sins, but also about the gift of the Holy Spirit. The apostles and Mary had received powerful gifts from the Holy Spirit on that day and Peter makes it clear that these are for everyone who becomes a disciple of Christ: “For the promise is made to you and to your children, and to all those far off, whomever the Lord God will call” (2:39). The promise of the Holy Spirit is for everyone who wants to follow Jesus. The text doesn’t tell us, but it is possible that for all the baptisms, the apostles used the mikvot, the ritual baths, which surrounded the Temple. These baths, some of which can still be seen today, would be the logical sources of so much water and were already used for religious purposes.

While we might not be able to put the power of Pentecost in a bottle and bring it with us everywhere, St. Peter shows us how to respond to the powerful preaching of the gospel: believe, repent and be baptized. By doing these things we can enter into the mystery of God’s plan of salvation. The Holy Spirit will come to dwell in us and our lives finally become part of the grand story, which He is writing.


47 posted on 05/11/2014 6:14:22 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: All

Scripture Speaks: Fourth Sunday of Easter

Today’s readings teach us about the care of sheep—they need a gate to protect their sheepfold, a shepherd who will lead them to good pasture, and ears to hear the Voice they should follow.

Gospel (Read Jn 10:1-10)

Today’s reading is best understood within its context in John’s Gospel. In the previous chapter is the account of Jesus’ healing of the man born blind, a Lenten lectionary reading. Recall that it was a lesson about spiritual sight and blindness. The simple blind Jewish man whom Jesus healed was able to see and worship Jesus as the Messiah. The Pharisees who interrogated him, however, wanted nothing to do with Jesus: “We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from” (Jn 9:29). If we remember that the Pharisees considered themselves to be the spiritual leaders of Judah, able to instruct the people in the fine points of the Mosaic Law and thus preserve their identity as God’s people, we will comprehend why Jesus begins speaking in John 10 about sheep gates, shepherds, and flocks. The Pharisees repeatedly acted as blind guides for God’s people, trying to insure a following for themselves. Jesus is about to expose them.

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber” (Jn 10:1). To make His point about the Pharisees, Jesus uses the well-known imagery of Israel as God’s flock and God Himself as their Shepherd (read Ez 34:11-16). Everyone willing to hear Jesus that day would have understood this metaphor. They knew that the sheepfold was where various flocks of sheep spent the night after a day of grazing. It consisted of a wall, to protect the flock from thieves and predators, as well as a gate. The gatekeeper would admit the shepherds in the morning as they came to take their flocks back out to pasture. Each shepherd’s flock responded to his call, because his voice was familiar to them. It was not a stretch for those listening to Jesus to understand that He was taking about God’s relationship with His people and leaders who had been given charge of them.   They knew the beautiful prophecy from Isaiah: “He will feed His flock like a shepherd, He will gather the lambs in His arms, He will carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” (Isa 40:11). However, notice the blindness of the Pharisees: “Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what He was trying to tell them” (Jn 10:6). So, what was He “trying to tell them”?

In the extended teaching of this chapter (some of which is not included in today’s reading), Jesus identifies Himself as both the sheep gate and the shepherd of Israel. The Pharisees were trying to lead God’s people without entering the sheepfold through the gate of Jesus. No one can teach and nurture God’s own flock apart from Jesus, because he is the Way, the Truth, the Life. The Pharisees believed the Law of Moses was an end in itself.   Why would they need Jesus? The reality was that the Law pointed towards Jesus and was fulfilled in Him.  Without Jesus, teachers of Israel robbed the flock , coming only to “steal and slaughter and destroy” (Jn 10:10).

Jesus also describes how the sheep recognize the voice of the one who has properly entered the sheepfold and who calls to them in a familiar, trusted way: “…they do not recognize the voice of strangers” (Jn 10:5). The sheep know they will find good pasture when they follow their true shepherd, not an impostor: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10).

Let us now follow, through all the other readings, this metaphor of sheep hearing their beloved shepherd’s call. How do they recognize His Voice?

Possible response: Jesus, Good Shepherd, You (and You alone) will lead me into abundant life. I trust in You.

First Reading (Read Acts 2:14a, 36-41)

If we are curious about how God’s flock will hear the Voice of the Good Shepherd, this reading in Acts provides us with an excellent demonstration. We are again on the Day of Pentecost, and Peter addresses the large crowd gathered around the hubbub caused by the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles. We can almost hear his raised voice booming out over the buzz: “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:14a). Here we have a “voice” calling out to God’s people (“the whole house of Israel”). Will the sheep recognize the voice? Will they trust the one calling to them? The rest of the story answers our questions.

“Now, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart…and they asked Peter and the other apostles, ‘What are we to do, my brothers?’” (Acts 2:37) The sheep recognize this as a call from God, delivered by His servant, Peter. They are convicted of their error in consenting to Jesus’ death. In deep humility, they seek reconciliation with the Father. Peter has approached the sheepfold through the gate of Jesus. He speaks to them on the basis of what Jesus has done, as well as about Jesus Himself. And it worked! They are ready to listen to the shepherd’s instructions. They believe he can lead them to safety.

Peter directs them to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). In this, they will receive forgiveness of their sins (for which now they are earnestly seeking), as well as the gift of the Holy Spirit (whose dramatic appearance got their attention in the first place). See how Peter acknowledges that what he announced to the people there that day was actually a call from God (and not just a man speaking): “For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39). The Voice of the Shepherd is spoken through the human voice of Peter, the one to whom Jesus gave charge of His Church. How very Catholic! If we want to hear the Voice of Jesus, we must listen to His Voice in the Church. No wonder all bishops carry shepherd’s staffs, to this day.

Possible response: Jesus, Good Shepherd, thank You for appointing shepherds to lead Your flock. We are never without our Shepherd’s Voice in the Church.

Psalm (Read Ps 23)

How did the psalmist hear the Voice of the Shepherd? He prayed to Him in grave danger, but with great intimacy: “Even though I walk in the dark valley, I fear no evil; for You are at my side” (Ps 23:4a). We hear the Shepherd’s Voice when we make the effort to hear it, especially in prayer. This is sometimes harder than it sounds. How easy it is for us, when we find ourselves in calamity, to focus primarily on the details of everything that is going wrong. The psalmist, however, looks for the Shepherd’s staff, talking to Him, and finding courage: “You are with me, Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Ps 23:4b). The psalmist has given us words to use as a prayer when we seek to hear the Good Shepherd’s call to us: “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”

Possible response: The psalm is, itself, a response to our other readings. Read it again prayerfully to make it your own.

Second Reading (Read 1 Pet 2:20b-25)

What does the epistle have to say to us about hearing the Voice of the Good Shepherd? Actually, Peter gives us the most important key: we must acknowledge that we are like sheep, wanting to go astray (1 Pet 2:25). We must be willing to follow in the footsteps (1 Pet 2:21) of the One Who is the “guardian” of our souls (1 Pet 2:25). The most obvious lesson is the one sometimes most difficult to accept: we are sheep who need a Shepherd. We need the humility of the crowd on the Day of Pentecost, but we are so susceptible to the pride of the Pharisees, who wanted to lead instead of follow. If we are humble enough to be led, we will hear our Shepherd’s Voice, and, because we know we can trust Him, we will be willing to follow wherever He leads, even into suffering like His own.

Possible response: Jesus, Good Shepherd, I confess that sometimes I want to stray, trying to lead rather than follow. Please give me grace to walk in Your footsteps, wherever they might take me.


48 posted on 05/11/2014 6:20:01 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: All
One Bread, One Body

One Bread, One Body

Language: English | Español

All Issues > Volume 30, Issue 3

<< Sunday, May 11, 2014 >> Fourth Sunday of Easter
 
Acts 2:14, 36-41
1 Peter 2:20-25

View Readings
Psalm 23:1-6
John 10:1-10

Similar Reflections
 

THE PENTECOST GUILT-TRIP

 
"When they heard this, they were deeply shaken." —Acts 2:37
 

There were two outpourings of the Holy Spirit at the first Christian Pentecost. At nine AM, one-hundred and twenty people received the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:15; 2:15). Later in the afternoon, three thousand people received the Spirit (Acts 2:41). Between these two great events, a pivotal question was asked by many in the crowd. This question was provoked by the realization that Jesus was Lord, God, and Messiah and that they had killed Him by crucifixion (Acts 2:36). In the midst of the first Christian Pentecost, many people suddenly came to realize that they had killed God. They were deeply shaken by this (Acts 2:37). "They asked Peter and the other apostles, 'What are we to do?' " (Acts 2:37)

To receive a new Pentecost, we need the Holy Spirit to first convict us of our sins, prove us wrong about sin, justice, and condemnation (Jn 16:8), and pierce our hearts with the realization that we, through our sins, were part of the mob that killed God. St. Francis of Assisi preached: "Nor did demons crucify Him; it is you who have crucified Him and crucify Him still, when you delight in your vices and sins" (Catechism, 598). We must stop denying reality. We were guilty of murdering God. This guilt should immediately lead to repentance, freedom from guilt, and the outpouring of the Spirit in a new Pentecost.

Come, Holy Spirit of conviction, guilt, and repentance!

 
Prayer: Father, I will agree to go on a very short guilt-trip to my destination, Pentecost.
Promise: "I am the Gate. Whoever enters through Me will be safe. He will go in and out, and find pasture." —Jn 10:9
Praise: Alleluia! Jesus is risen! "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:55) Alleluia!

49 posted on 05/11/2014 6:24:23 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 48 | View Replies]

To: All

"I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born."

~Ronald Reagan, quoted in New York Times, 22 September 1980


50 posted on 05/11/2014 6:26:12 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 49 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson