Reading 1 (ACTS 13:14, 43-52)

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 100:1-2, 3, 5)

R.(3c) We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
R. Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
R. Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R.We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R.We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
R. Alleluia.

Reading 2 (REVELATION 7:9, 14B-17)

A reading from the Book of Revelation

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

Then one of the elders said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

– The word of the Lord.

Alleluia (JOHN 10:14)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 10:27-30)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: The Fourth Sunday of Easter is celebrated as Good Shepherd Sunday. Let’s have a little background on this devotion. John 10 states how Christ declares himself as the Good Shepherd. It was during the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. The people were there, including the scribes and Pharisees. They were wondering whether he was the Messiah. Jesus does not declare to them directly, but he gives an application of who he is. He declares to them as the gate for the sheep and the Good Shepherd. The people there wanted to stone him because they thought he was blaspheming, but he knew their thoughts. This is why he said to them: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). By being the Good Shepherd, he is already declaring to them as the Messiah. But his messiahship is not of violence and hatred, since they expected him to destroy the Romans, but of love and mercy. This was seen in his words of preaching, especially the Sermon on the Mount, his signs and wonders, especially those of healing the sick, and most of all, his Paschal Mystery, wherein he suffered, died, and rose again to save us from sin and death.
My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus is the gate for the sheep. This means that salvation is attained through him by faith and good words, thoughts, and actions. He is also the Good Shepherd for the sheep. He never leaves us with unfailing care, and he mercifully carries us in his shoulders. Above all, he is the Lamb of God who took away our sins. He laid down his life on the Cross for our salvation. Through him, we are promised eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven. That is why our response is to listen to him and obey his teachings. And to do these things is to obey the will of God the Father, because he said: “I and the Father are One” (John 10:30). As we celebrate today the 53rd World Day of Prayer for Vocations. let us continue to fulfil our vocations in life, whether Single Blessedness, Marriage Life, and Religious Vows. And as we journey down this Easter road, let us listen to the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd and be shepherds to one another through faith in him and service to others. Let us also continue to pray for the Shepherds of the Church, the Pope, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, and other religious and consecrated life, that they continue to follow in the footsteps of the Good Shepherd. Let us also pray for the world leaders and politicians, especially our national and local candidates running for the coming elections, that they may continue to uphold and protect the life and dignity of every individual and family member.

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