Daily Readings Reflection for 4/25/10

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Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: April 25, 4th Sun. after Easter (C).  Lectionary # 52. Acts
13:14.43-52. Psalm 100: 1-2.3.5. Rev. 7:9. 14-17. John 10:27-30:    Good
Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Day of Prayer

Today we celebrate “Good Shepherd Sunday” and dedicate the day to praying
for vocations especially thinking of the need for priests, religious, and
deacons.  We remember also that God calls each person to a primary vocation
and by following that call we all contribute to the ministry of the Church
and to the bringing of God’s realm into our own world of technology,
scientific and medical advancement, and our struggles with violence, war,
hatred, and greed.  We take the time to worship God and listen to the word
of God in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist which gives us the
hope to cope with the troubles and chaos of our time in history.

Our opening prayers and the prayer of the gifts and after communion also
help bring us into focus on the theme of the Good Shepherd to which we add
our prayers for listening to the voice of the Shepherd as we are called to
a specific and primary vocation.  This theme of listening to the voice of
the Shepherd (both God and Jesus and the Spirit) is essential to our
celebration of Good Shepherd Sunday.,

God’s revealing words are often given in symbolic or image making words
that were current at the time of Jesus in the first century. Without being
discouraged by these scriptural images we ponder them over and make them a
part of our prayers this day.  We see the success of the early shepherds
like Barnabas and Paul in the first reading from the Acts and are amazed
that their courage and boldness leads many to embrace the new faith based
on Jesus’ words and events or his Paschal Mysteries.  They are “light for
the nations” and they are true shepherds of the newly founded church.  We
do well to learn from their example of simplicity of life with boldness in
speech about the kingdom of God.  Often our own style of living and our
behavior will be the way in which we subtly preach the word of God.

Psalm 100 is appropriate for the theme of Good Shepherd Sunday and for
thanksgiving and praise of God the Shepherd of shepherds par excellence.
Covenant language is present within this psalm and it gives content to the
imagery of water and shepherding in verdant fields where the sheep can
rest.  This theme of covenant is woven throughout the whole of the Bible
and helps us to understand where God is working within our own history both
past, present, and to come. We realize that the task of shepherding is no
small task for God, for Jesus, and for those entrusted with “the care of
the flock.”  We realize in our day how horrible it is when the shepherd
abuses or exploits the sheep.

The Book of Revelation is a vision of the future not to scare us or to
measure world events that are taking place today.  It is dedicated to the
worshiping of God alone and the Lamb, the Son of God, sacrificed for the
sheep. The Lamb also is the same Jesus who is our Good Shepherd. From the
visionary scene of today we learn of those who now live in the presence of
God and surround the throne where the Lamb also is next to God.  People of
every race, tongue, language, and culture are surrounding and joining in
the praise of the Lamb and of God.

Though these image like scenes and extraordinary events seem far-fetched
and out of our realm of thinking, they are given to us as God’s revelation
to humankind.  We need on a Sunday to make it truly a day of resting in the
Lord and the images that are given to us for prayer, reflection, and
meditation.  We surely are able to leave aside multi-tasking and scattered
listening and wandering or day dreaming for the kairos timeless
contemplation of the liturgy of the Word of God.

The selection of the Gospel is short enough for a careful study and
appreciation of what it is telling us through the image of Jesus as our
Good Shepherd who leads us to the Father for he and the Father are one in
this unified tasking of shepherding the flock that embraces the whole
world. These excerpts from Fr. Brown’s Introduction to the New Testament
should help in reflecting on the Shepherd theme in John: ” This (the theme
of good shepherd) and the description on the vine in 15:1-17 are the
closest that John comes to the parables so common in the Synoptics.  In
John there is a mixture of metaphors offering different ways of looking at
the same reality: Jesus is the gate by which the shepherd goes to the
sheep, and by which the sheep come into the fold and go out to pasture; and
Jesus is the model shepherd who both knows his sheep a by name and is
willing to lay down his life for them….The famous passage in 10:16 where
Jesus, referring to other sheep not this fold, express his goal of one sheep
herd, one shepherd suggests that, when the Gospel was written, division
among Jesus’ followers was a problem.” (Intro. N.T., p.348-349).  We do not
lose hope for as we meditate and pray on this Sunday we realize “He has the
whole world in his hands.” Amen. Alleluia.

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