FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER ‑ CYCLE A
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)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or 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 2:14, 36‑41 FIRST READING
(“It was to you and your children that the promise was made.”)
- Who was Peter addressing, who stood up with him, and what was he telling them to do? Acts 2:14
- What did he want them to know beyond a doubt? Acts 2:36
- What does Scripture say will happen to us if we believe that God made Jesus both Lord and Messiah? Romans 10:9
- What happened when they heard this, and what did they ask Peter and the other disciples? Acts 2:37
- What did Peter say we must do in order to receive the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:38 Acts 16:31
- Who first received the promised Holy Spirit? Acts 2:32‑33
- To whom was this promise made? Acts 2:39
- From what did Peter keep urging them to save themselves? Acts 2:40
- What happened to those who accepted his message and how many were added that day? Acts 2:41
Personal ‑ In what way have you accepted the message that it was to you and your children that the promise was made? In what way has this sign of hope for your family been reflected in your attitude?
THIRD DAY READ 1 PETER 2:20‑25 SECOND READING
(“He did no wrong; no deceit was found in his mouth.”)
- If you put up with suffering for doing what is right, what is this in God’s eyes? 1 Peter 2:20
- What do the following Scriptures say about suffering:
1 Peter 4:16
- To what is it we are called, and whose footsteps do we follow as our example? 1 Peter 2:20‑21
- What did Christ not do, and what was not found in his mouth? 1 Peter 2:22
- When he was insulted, what did he not do, and when he was made to suffer, with what did he not return? 1 Peter 2:23, Isaiah 53:7
- Instead, to whom was he delivered, and how does he judge? 1 Peter 2:23
- When did Jesus deliver himself up? Luke 23:44‑46
- How did he bring our sins to the cross, and for what reason? 1 Peter 2:24
- How have we been healed? 1 Peter 2:24
- What were we doing at one time, and now to whom have we returned? l Peter 2:25
- Who is our shepherd, and what does he do for us? Read and meditate on Psalm 23
Personal ‑ In what way have you brought your sins to the cross and let go of them? How have you been healed? Jesus brought us freedom. Are you still holding on to old sins, or have you allowed him to set you free? Meditate on this passage of Scripture (1 Peter 2:20‑25).
FOURTH DAY READ JOHN 10:1‑10 GOSPEL
(“I came that they might have life.”)
- Who is speaking, and to whom is he speaking? John 10:6, John l0:19
- What is a man who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs in some other way, and what is the one who enters through the gate? John 10:1-2
- What does the keeper do, what do the sheep hear, how does he call his own, and what does he do with them? John 10:3
- Where does he walk when he has brought out all that are his, what do the sheep do, and for what reason? John 10:4
- Who will they not follow and for what reason? John 10:5
- Did the listeners grasp what Jesus was trying to tell them, who did Jesus say he was, and what were all who came before him? John 10:6-8
- What did Jesus say he was again, what will happen to those who enter through him, and what will they find? John 10:9
- What does the thief do, and why did Jesus come? John 10:10, John 1:4
- How are we to live our life and what are we to receive? John 10:10, Romans 5:17
- What must we do to have eternal life? John 3:16
Personal ‑ When you lose the peace of Jesus and feel as though you are being destroyed by things going on around you, how do you handle it? Where do you go to receive the fullness of life?
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 23:1‑6
(“He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 23:1‑6.
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
ACTS 2:14, 36‑41
In this passage we hear Peter boldly tell the crowd that they should listen to him because the Old Testament prophecies had been entirely fulfilled in Jesus. He told them that Jesus is the Messiah (Acts 2:25‑36) and the risen Christ could dramatically change their lives. This is a new Peter, humble but bold and the power of the Holy Spirit flowed through him like a mighty river.
This was the same Peter who had denied he had ever known Jesus, regardless of being one of the disciples. But the Lord forgave and restored him after his denial. We see the transformation take place as Peter becomes a powerful and dynamic speaker. What an incredible sense of mercy God has. He watched as Peter denied him and then listened as he confessed and repented with great passion.
Where are you at the present time in your life? Have you ever felt as if you have made such bad mistakes that God could never forgive you and use you? That is what Satan wants you to believe, but don’t buy it. It is a lie, and Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). God will forgive us of anything if we turn to him with a sincere and contrite heart (Psalm 51). His love is a love that has no limit. Tell him your terrible mistake and repent, and let him take care of your fears.
Remember, true love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment (l John 4:18), while a relationship of love denotes a right relationship with God, therefore, there is no reason for punishment. God promises to forgive and he never falls back on his word. Allow him to forgive and use you effectively to serve him by bringing others into his healing light. Try to be quiet and listen to him telling you how much he loves you (Psalm 46:10).
1 PETER 2:20‑25
Peter really brings home a painful truth in many of our lives and that is to endure unjust suffering. We only need to look around our world and see millions of people starving and struggling just to survive. We see tyrants tearing their nations apart and putting people through all kinds of unjust suffering.
Today’s message is a call to patience, loyalty and forgiveness. Just look and see the suffering that is experienced by the spouse of an unfaithful partner. Many people live in a marriage where the spouse is oppressive, and verbally, physically, and sexually abusive. Much suffering is endured because of the power of God’s Holy Spirit.
Many adults have been physically or sexually abused as children, and the long‑term suffering is still going on internally. Only the healing love of Jesus Christ who was the victim of unjust suffering can bring patience, forgiveness or love to someone who has suffered unjustly. Because we know that Christ did not do any wrong and suffered through his torture and death on the cross, we too, can try to follow his example.
Parents have been known to be ridiculed, mocked and disgraced by their children and are, therefore, called as Christians to be Christ‑like examples of patience, forgiveness and love to them. You and I are not capable of this type of power. We can forgive others only when we realize that we ourselves are forgiven and loved completely by Jesus Christ. Suffering becomes bearable only when Christ is the bearer of the pain.
We call on him and he hears us and he responds to us. He never abandons us or leaves us alone. We must be ready to follow Jesus, regardless of where the road may lead. Suffering will be thrust upon many of us, but we must respond only to Jesus’ call.
John tells us of the love and dedication of a good and faithful shepherd. We clearly see that this is a story about someone protecting his flock even at the risk of losing his life. No hired hand would do this, only a total commitment of love is enough to fend off the wolves and other dangers to the flock. The sheep know their shepherd by the sound of his voice. They follow him wherever he goes. They eat wherever they are directed, and drink at the spot that is prepared for them. They safely rest at night in their sheepfold, and feel secure at the sound of his voice.
We are told in Scripture, “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want.” The Lord Jesus knows each and everyone of us by name and he provides us with food for our bodies and food for our spirit (Eucharist and his Holy Word). He tells us to be aware of those who want to steal our hearts and destroy our lives through sin. He tells us that he is “the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) Look at that Scripture closely and see how it states that he is THE way, not a way, but THE way.
John ends this passage by giving us the answer to God’s plan for all of us. We know that millions of people know about Jesus Christ and that he has a plan for us, and that is to live a life in all its fullness. Really, to be holy, one has to be WHOLE. We need to be physically and spiritually in tune with Christ. Our bodies are called to be temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16). We are called to put on the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:1‑4) and be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). When we do this we can personally say with the Psalmist, “The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want.”
The first reading deals with the virtue of hope. There is hope that we can all change for the better. The second reading helps us to see the power in redemptive suffering. It is a visual sign of Jesus Christ as he, too, once suffered for us. The Gospel brings home the message that he knows us personally, and he can identify us even by our own names.
Let us, this week, look at the suffering that is going on in our own families. We know who needs to be consoled. We know who is in danger of physical harm. We need to protect others from being exposed to unjust suffering. If you know someone who is being abused, report it at once to the proper authorities. The Lord wants us to be whole and healed. He wants us to draw upon Him for strength to endure the unjust suffering.