4th Sunday of Easter
BEFORE YOU BEGIN: Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
The first reading tells us to have courage to speak out for Christ just as the apostles spoke out. The second reading reveals to us that Jesus is our defense lawyer and he has already won our case. The Gospel calls for all to call on his name and be witnesses to his penance and forgiveness.
This week look at your values and priorities. What is important to you? Where is God on that list? Think about how to put God first in each of your activities each day this week. Your example will cause others to repent and turn to the Lord.
- What was a helpful or a new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what Personal? application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ ACTS 4:8-12 FIRST READING (“…in his name this man stands before you healed.”)
- With what was Peter filled, and who is he answering? Acts 4:8
- Who was great in the sight of the Lord, and with what was he filled? Luke 1:13-15
- What did Peter say you need to do to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38
- What did Peter ask the leaders about a good deed done to a cripple? Acts 4:9
- What did Peter say to the cripple, and in whose name? Acts 3:6
- What did Peter say all of the people of Israel should know, and how does the man stand before them healed? Acts 4:10
- What happens to him who calls on the name of the Lord? Acts 2:21
- Who are the builders, what did they do to the stone, and what has it become? Acts 4:11
- How are we to be saved? Acts 4:10-12
- How do we come to the Father? John 14:6
- Who wills everyone to be saved and to come to full knowledge of the truth? 1 Timothy 2:3-6
Personal? – Who is Jesus to you? If he were to come for you tonight, what would you say to him? Where would you go?
THIRD DAY READ 1 JOHN 3:1-2 SECOND READING (“Beloved, we are God’s children now.”)
- What has the Father bestowed on us, and what may we be called? 1 John 3:1
- To those who did accept Jesus, what did he give them power to become, and in what must they believe? John 1:12
- What came through Jesus? John 1:17
- In love, what did God destine us to be, and through whom? Ephesians 1:4-5
- What is the reason the world does not know us? 1 John 3:1
- What does Jesus, who knows the Father, keep? John 8:54-55
- What are we now, and what has not yet been revealed? 1 John 3:2
- Whom will we be like when it is revealed to us, and what will we see? 1 John 3:2
- What will God do to our bodies? How will he do it? What will he bring into subjection to himself? Philippians 3:21
- To whom has God revealed the Son, and to whom does he reveal things? Matthew 11:25-27
Personal? – When and how do you come to God in prayer as a child? Picture yourself as a small child, maybe with a hurt knee, and go to him and let him hold you and make it better.
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 10:11-18 GOSPEL (“I am the Good Shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.”)
- Who is the Good Shepherd, and what does he do for the sheep? John 10:7, 11
- How did the God of peace bring up from the dead the Good Shepherd of the sheep? Hebrews 13:20
- What does a hired hand, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, do when he sees a wolf coming? John 10:12
- What will the foolish shepherd not do, and what may happen to him? Zechariah 11:16-17
- Why does he have no concern for the sheep? John 10:13
- What does the Good Shepherd know? John 10:14
- What do the Good Shepherd’s sheep hear? Whom do they know, and what do they do? John 10:27
- Whom does the Good Shepherd know? Who knows him, and what will they do? John 10:15
- What does the Good Shepherd have that does not belong to this fold? What must he do with these, and what will they hear? John 10:16
- What happened to those who were far off? What did he break down, and through what did he do it? Ephesians 2:13-14
- Why does the Father love Jesus? John 10:17
- How have we been consecrated? Hebrews 10:9-10
- What is the command Jesus received from the Father? John 10:18
- How did Jesus humble himself? Philippians 2:8
Personal? – How are you like the Good Shepherd, and how are you like the hired hand with your family, friends, co-workers, etc?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26-29 (“It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26-29.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
Jesus tells us in scripture that he is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He also tells us that he has left his Spirit of truth to be always with each one of us who believe in him (John 14:16-17). Jesus has left us the same Spirit that was within Peter when he healed that crippled man.
The Holy Spirit that was given to the apostles by Christ has been given to us also. Yes, that’s right, to you. Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that the power to heal, to prophesy, to preach, to teach, to forgive, and to love is within you and that this power comes from the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4)? If God wills that everyone be saved, and he leaves his Holy Spirit to empower us, why do so many people still reject him? Jesus tells us that all who abide in him and keep his commandments will experience his abiding in them. To abide means to live with, to take up residence, and to really know someone; one has to live with that person. Many people do not respond to the protection of the Holy Spirit’s power because it calls for obedience and obedience calls for humility. Jesus knew obedience and humility. In fact, it was in complete humility that he went in full obedience to his death on the cross.
Jesus, not the apostles, received the glory for the healing. In those days a man’s name represented his character and stood for his authority and power. Like the apostles, we must not emphasize what we can do but what God can do through us. Jesus’ name is not to be used as magic – it must be used by faith. When we pray in Jesus’ name, it is important to remember that it is Jesus himself who gives our prayers their power.
In this reading, Peter reminds the people and their leaders that they, the so-called builders of the community, had thought by rejecting a stone in the new building, they would prevent a new and permanent temple from being erected. But Jesus was more than the stone, he was the cornerstone. The church was the new temple, and Jesus was the cornerstone that held it together.
Scripture tells us that Jesus himself stated that the gates of hell would not prevail against his church (Matthew 16:18). Today all across the many nations, the Catholic Church is under attack from non-believers and lukewarm believers. The power of the Holy Spirit is filling up the hearts of believers and they are going forth and making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), even in the face of persecution.
1 JOHN 3:1-2
Today’s reading reveals to us that we have been chosen to be part of God’s family. Every single person who has ever lived has always wanted to belong, to be accepted as we are and not for what we do, but we just do not know how to belong. To belong is to be loved unconditionally, not only when we are being productive or loving in return, but even when we are unlovable.
God has called us to be part of his family, but we still have to say “Yes, Lord” before anything happens. We do that when we become baptized and we begin our new relationship as a child of God. As believers, we have self-worth that is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us his children. We are his children now, not some time in the future, and he is our “Abba” daddy. Some people have had fathers who were very harmful to them, and the memories of being physically, sexually, and emotionally assaulted are still very vivid and painful even, in some cases, after many years.
We see in today’s reading that God is our real Father, our permanent Father, and he heals all of his children through his loving Son, Jesus. This is tremendous good news for all of us, and it means that he encourages us to live like Jesus and to believe that Jesus and his Holy Spirit will empower us to overcome any type of injury. He tells us in scripture that nothing, not even death will separate us from him or his love (Rom. 8:31-39).
Our Christian life is a process that calls for us to be more Christ-like every day. Let us celebrate with thanks and praise for the gift of the loving, earthly father that he has given us, and let us pray also for the healing of the broken spirit of the many earthly fathers of yesterday and today.
This Gospel is a powerful reminder that every living person on this earth is under the loving care and concern of our “Good Shepherd,” Jesus Christ. We call him the Good Shepherd because he not only took many risks for his flock, but he also died defending it.
A shepherd was someone who grew up knowing, caring and protecting a flock of sheep. He was born for that noble, lonely and very dangerous role. Shepherds were not in the business for money, and when danger such as wolves, lions or bears attacked the flock the shepherd would fight back to the bitter end. A shepherd had to show evidence that he fought against the attackers. The hireling, on the other hand, would run from the attack and expose the flock to very serious danger. The shepherd is committed to his sheep. The term “good shepherd,” like the term “good doctor,” meant not only did he have the necessary skills to do the job, but he also had a quality of love and gentleness.
Jesus was “The Good Shepherd” par excellence. He was not just doing his job; he was committed to love us and he laid down his life for us. Today the flock is the church and the Good Shepherd is Jesus Christ. Today there is the danger of the hirelings not taking proper care of their flocks. When the dangers of the world attack the flock, the hirelings of today’s church run away from their flocks.
The church is always liable to attack from the outside and it is also liable to trouble from the inside due to the tragedy of bad leadership. The second danger is by far the worst, because if the shepherd is faithful and good, there is a strong defense against the outside attack. But if the shepherd is a hireling and is faithless, then the foes can penetrate into the flock and severely damage it. The church’s first essential is a leadership based on the example of Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. Let us hold our shepherds up in prayer constantly, so that they may become, not only shepherds, but “good shepherds.”
The first reading challenges us to ask, am I ready to die? The second reading tells us that God is our permanent and loving Father. The Gospel shows us that we are being called to be “good shepherds.”
This week: Pray, listen, and love with your actions to your children. -Pray, listen, and forgive your father, dead or alive. -Pray, listen, and pray for forgiveness of all earthly fathers, that they will repent and seek healing in Jesus Christ. -Pray, listen, listen, and listen to your Heavenly Father.