“I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep and mine know me”

We celebrate this week of the Easter season by entering more deeply into the stories of the early followers of Jesus. All week in Acts, we will read of an increasing boldness by the disciples, and the beginning of Paul's ministry to the Gentiles.

John's gospels continue to draw us into the image of Jesus as our shepherd, loving us with an individual tenderness. Jesus continues to tell us that he and the Father are one. Like his followers, we sometimes simply can't see it.

This is a week to pray with joy for the love God showers on us and for the presence of Jesus' warm caring for us in our everyday lives. We are not perfect. We are not sin-free.

But we are loved by our Risen God - and that is what we celebrate in this season.

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..

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. 

Today's Reading

Daily Meditation: 

I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep and mine know me. - Jn 10:14

He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Acts 4

The gospel in which Jesus tells us that he is our Good Shepherd can be quite personal.
He knows the people, and we know that other "shepherds" are not reliable.
He knows us and we know him. 
He laid down his life for us.

As we continue to celebrate Easter, we give thanks for his guiding, protective love.
And, we ask for the grace to share in his ministry of that kind of love for our loved ones and our brothers and sisters who have been scattered.

Look upon your flock, kind Shepherd, and be pleased to settle in eternal pastures the sheep you have redeemed by the Precious Blood of your Son.
- Prayer after Communion

 

Intercessions: 

God the almighty Father raised Jesus as the firstborn from the dead, and made him our Savior. Let us call upon him, saying:

Give us, Lord, the glory of your Son.

All-holy Father, you brought your beloved Son Jesus from the darkness of death into the splendor of your glory,
- bring us also into your marvelous light.

You have given us faith to save us,
- may we live by the faith of our baptism.

You command us to seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at your right hand,
- do not let us be deceived by the allurements of sin.

May our life, hidden with Christ in you, our Father, shine before the world,
- foreshadowing a new heaven and a new earth.

Closing Prayer: 

Loving Shepherd,
You love me and watch over me always, in my joys and in my pain.
Help me not to be deceived by the world around me.
Thank you for the great gift of your love and protection
and for my faith in you, which shapes my life.

May my heart be open to an awareness
of your great love
and may we carry that love to those 
we pass each day who need it the most.

May the Lord bless us, 
protect us from all evil 
and bring us to everlasting life. 
Amen.

 
Daily Reflection
Of Creighton University's Online Ministries

Jesus said:“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27-30

I'm aware that it's hard for me in the modern world to understand the incredibly close connection between a shepherd and his sheep, and because we often lack that experience, we might miss the power of what Jesus is telling us in today's gospel.

In Jesus' time, and still in some parts of the world today, shepherds know the personality of each of their sheep. Isolated for days at a time with his herd, the shepherd would talk to the animals, sing to them and sleep among them. When he took them to a stream to water them, he also would come across other shepherds and their flocks, giving them a chance to socialize as the sheep mingled together at the water. There was no worry about which sheep belonged to which flock, and when it was time to leave, the shepherds would call to their own sheep, who untangled themselves from the mix and followed the caring and familiar voice of their own shepherd.

It's a wonderful and loving image of care and protection, but something about it makes me hesitate. Do I really want a shepherd? I am drawn to the image it presents, but I sometimes chafe at the idea of not being independent. Do I want the kind of love, protection and care Jesus offers? Like my three year old granddaughter, I want to say, “I can do it myself!”

My stiff-necked stubbornness to do things my own way is what led Israel, God's chosen people, to forget who they were and why they had been chosen. They began to lose sight of the One who had offered them this special relationship and in today's first reading, we see that when the chosen people drifted away, the Gentiles were "delighted" to accept.

Delighted? What has happened to my own delight in the shepherd? Pope Francis says, “Many put themselves forward as 'shepherds' of our lives; but only the Risen One is the true Shepherd, who gives us life in abundance.” These false shepherds are ingrained in the culture in which my life is immersed, with so many promises of love, happiness, safety and security, if only I follow one path or another. I don't always listen to the right voice.

“Jesus’ voice is unique,” Pope Francis says. “If we learn to distinguish it, he guides us on the path of life, a path that goes beyond even the abyss of death.” It is that path that my heart longs to follow, to listen to the voice of Jesus calling to me. And when I finally realize I have lost my way and wandered off the path, I can follow that voice to be safe and secure.

Jesus, thank you for helping me to listen to your voice. When I am too busy and distracted, I can't hear you calling me to come home to the warmth of your love. Whether I pay attention or not, I know you are waiting there for me, always, with your open arms and your endlessly loving gaze. Help me to take time each morning to sit in the quiet with you and to thank for this great gift of your love. Help me recognize your voice and to recognize that your guidance and comfort are all that I need.

by Maureen McCann Waldron
Collaborative Ministry Office 
click here for photo and information about the writer

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

and

Visual Bible Alive

Powered byEMF Form Builder