"The Lord's Day" Gospel Reflection for May 3, 2020, Fourth Sunday of Easter (John 10: 1-10) Featured
Nicholas Pierlot gives a reflection on John 10: 1-10,
To assist in this time, St. Therese Institute would like to share some resources to keep your Sabbath day holy.
- Magnificat has made available a free, online subscription to their monthly publication of daily prayer, mass readings, and reflections by saints and pertinent theologians. A free PDF of the Sunday mass readings (using the NAB translation), with reflections, a form of liturgy of the hours, etc. is available at this link: ENGLISH https://us.magnificat.net/free FRENCH https://canada.magnificat.net/
As quoted from their website, Magnificat is:
"... a spiritual guide to help you develop your prayer life, grow in your spiritual life, find a way to a more profound love for Christ, and participate in the holy Mass with greater fervor."
Magnificat is a monthly publication designed for daily use, to encourage both liturgical and personal prayer. It can be used to follow daily Mass and can also be read at home or wherever you find yourself for personal or family prayer."
- Another good resource is Universalis.com. This is a free web resource that contains the Liturgy of the Hours and the daily mass readings with helpful instructions and various service. As well, one can use Canada's lectionary by selecting it in the settings.
It is our hope that these resources may support your life of prayer and devotion.
- First Reading – Acts 2:14, 36-41
- Responsorial – Psalm 22(23)
- Second Reading – 1 Peter 2:20-25
- Gospel – John 10:1-10
John 10: 1-10 – Sunday Gospel Reflection – Fourth Sunday of Easter
Nicholas Pierlot, Assistant Director of Formation, St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission
May 3, 2020
This Sunday’s Gospel presents the familiar image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Positioned after the healing of a blind man (Jn 9:7), Jesus responds to the incredulous Pharisees using a parable. Referring to a common sheepfold of the time, designed to keep intruders and wolves out, he explains that a “shepherd of the sheep” enters by the main gate because he has the good favor of the gatekeeper. The thief, on the other hand, climbs over the wall with nefarious intentions. We the sheep find this a little ominous, but Jesus gives us a promise:
“When [the shepherd] 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” (Jn 10:4-5).
Because the sheep recognize the good shepherd’s voice, they will not succumb to thieves. In the midst of the anxieties life in the world brings, this is indeed consoling.
But one thing may yet trouble us: “… and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.” With much noise streaming from the news, society, family issues and our own minds, we easily get discouraged and confused. Nervously, we ask “how do we know his voice?” Like the sheep in the nighttime, we are scared by shapes, shadows, and foreign voices – some rough, some seductive. Becoming lost and weary, we fear being stolen away to a strange land and sheepfold.
At this point, we might ponder two words: ‘thief’ and ‘gate’. Christ’s word for thief is lestai, the same one used to describe Barabbas the revolutionary and the two crucified criminals. Lestai describes political messiahs and terrorists as well as burglars. These ‘leaders’ seize power and disseminate ideas without true commission, relying on various shades of violence to achieve their ends. Fear, force, and subversion are the lestai’s weapons and friends.
On the other hand, the shepherd passes through the gate. Those passing through the gate are admitted by the gatekeeper, confirming the good shepherd’s office and words. Who is the gatekeeper Some believe this to be the Father. What is the gate? “I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture,” says Christ (Jn 10:9). Who is the Shepherd? “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11). Laying down one’s life for a friend is the highest act of love (Jn 15:13). Love is therefore the sign of the good shepherd, with Christ’s sacrifice being the highest act of love. Thus, we know Christ’s voice by listening to Christ. This is prayer. Paradoxically, Jesus is the end, beginning, and the means of the spiritual life.
But listening to Christ is not just a subjective ‘my-Jesus-and-me’ relationship, nor is it merely referring to a badge of membership. In the first reading, we see a striking display of Peter’s office in the public speech of Pentecost. “Struck to the heart”, three thousand people were baptized and drawn to Christ by Peter’s words (Acts 2:37-41). This is because Peter’s words are in fact Christ’s. Jesus left us a church with a living Tradition, Magisterium, and the papacy to attune our ears. And this Church provides us with the Word, the Scriptures, so that we can be “cut to the heart” and come to know Christ personally. Embracing the Church and Christ in Sacrament and Word, we can trust and know the voice of the shepherd.
Nicholas Pierlot is the Assistant Director of Formation at St. Therese Institute of Faith and Mission in Bruno, SK, where Sacred Scripture is one of his favourite topics to instruct on. Nick holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Prince Edward Island and M.A. in Catholic Applied Theology from the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham, England. He lives in Bruno with his wife Denise, their daughter Rosé. They are expecting a new addition to the family this summer.
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