Sunday, May 11, 2014

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, May 11, 2014 with Reflection

1ST READING - Acts 2:14, 36-41
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: 36 Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” 40 He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.
P S A L M - Psalm 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
R: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. (R) He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.(R) You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R) Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come. (R)
2nd READING - 1 Peter 2:20-25
20 Beloved: If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. 22 He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. 23 When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my sheep, and mine know me.
John 10:1-10
Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”


       Every fourth Sunday of Easter, we are invited to reflect upon the image and reality that God is the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. I am an Australian, and while we have more sheep than any other country in the world, we have very few shepherds, or indeed a history of them. There are some farmers who tend to more than a hundred thousand sheep. The traditional role of the shepherd, who knew each of his sheep individually, has given way to sheep dogs, motorbikes and helicopters as flocks are rounded up, yarded and then shorn or sent off to market.

       In the time of Jesus, flocks were small in size and the shepherd knew each of his sheep. Believe it or not, the sheep could recognize the voice of their shepherd from the other shepherds in the area. Many claim to be shepherds in today’s world. Many voices offer to guide us along life’s paths. The question is, “Which of these voices should we listen to?” This is a very good question and the answer is not always easy to find as many of the voices can be very persuasive but should still be ignored.

       We need to learn how to recognize the voice of God through the proper functioning of our own spirits so that we can hear what we need to hear when it comes to following Jesus. It is critical that we become men and women of the Spirit and the Word of God so that we can fully discern the good voice from the bad one. We can save ourselves a lot of grief if we learn this lesson well.

       One of the most inspiring ways to learn how to listen to the voice of God is by reading the lives of the saints. Through their lives, we can see the many wonderful examples of what it means to listen to God’s voice. Let us always remember to pray for the grace of the Spirit of God to help us in our discernment on which voice to listen to. Fr. Steve Tynan, MGL
REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you confident that you have the capability to discern the voice of God from among all the other voices in the world?
Holy Spirit, grant me a sensitive spirit so that I will know immediately if the voice I hear is from God or not.

St. Ignatius of Laconi, pray for us.

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