Liturgy of the Sunday

Share On

Fourth Sunday of Easter


First Reading

Acts 4,8-12

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, addressed them, 'Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple and asking us how he was healed, you must know, all of you, and the whole people of Israel, that it is by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, and God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man stands before you cured. This is the stone which you, the builders, rejected but which has become the cornerstone. Only in him is there salvation; for of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.'

Psalmody

Psalm 117

Antiphon

Eternal is the mercy of the Lord.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good,
for his love endures for ever.

Let the sons of Israel say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let the sons of Aaron say :
'His love endures for ever.'

Let those who fear the Lord say :
'His love endures for ever.'

I called the Lord in my distress;
he answered and feed me.

The Lord is at my side; I do not fear.
What can man do against m?

The Lord is at my side as my helper:
I shall look down on my foes.

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in men:

It is better to take refuge in the lord
than to trust in prices.

The nations all encompassed me;
in the lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me, compassed me about;
in the Lord's name I crushed them.

They compassed me about like bees;
they blazed like a fire among thorns.
In the Lord's name I crushed them.

I was thrust down, thrust down and falling
but the Lord was my helper.

The Lord is my strength and my song;
he was my saviour.

There are shouts of joy and victory
in the tents of the just.

The Lord's right hand has triumphed;
his right hand raised me.

The Lord's right hand had triumphed;
I shall not die, I shall live
and recount his deed.

I was punished, I was punished by the Lord,
but not doomed to die.

Open to me the gates of holiness :
I will enter and give thanks.

This is the Lord's own gates
where the just may enter.

I will thank you for you have answered
and you are my saviour.

The stone which the builders rejected
has become the corner stone.

This is the work of the Lord,
a marvel in our eyes.

This day was made by the Lord;
we rejoice and are glad.

O Lord, grant us salvation;
O Lord, grant success.

Blessed in the name of the Lord
is he who comes

We bless you from the house of the Lord;
the Lord God is our light.

Go forward in procession with branches
even to the altar.

You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good;
for his love endures forever.

Second Reading

1 John 3,1-2

You must see what great love the Father has lavished on us by letting us be called God's children -- which is what we are! The reason why the world does not acknowledge us is that it did not acknowledge him. My dear friends, we are already God's children, but what we shall be in the future has not yet been revealed. We are well aware that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he really is.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 10,11-18

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and runs away, and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; he runs away because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd. The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as I have power to lay it down, so I have power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Homily

Jesus presents himself as the "good shepherd", that is, the one who gathers and guides the sheep to the point of offering his very life for their salvation. He adds that those who do not offer their lives are not shepherds but rather hired hands. Jesus, to explain the danger, uses the image of the wolf that "snatches and scatters" the sheep.
Looking deeper into it, the work of the wolf reflects the attitude of the hired hand. Both indeed look for their own advantage, satisfaction and return and not that of the sheep. The result is a kind of plot of the indifferent and selfish. If we think about how many have lost the meaning of life and wander without a goal, if we look at the millions of refugees who abandon their lands and loves seeking a better life while no one cares about them, if we look at the disorientation of the youth looking for happiness without anyone showing them a path we have to take account of the cruel alliance between wolves and haired hands, between the indifferent and those who seek only to take profit from this confusion. The prophet Ezekiel writes: "My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with no one to search or seek for them" (Ez 34:6).
The Lord Jesus says: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." This is what he did during the Passion, loving his own till the end, till shedding his blood. The entire Gospel, till the end, speaks only about the bond between the abandoned, tired and shepherdless crowds and Jesus who is moved by them. "Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it?" (Lk 15:4), says the Lord. It is said that St. Charles Borromeo said: "I would go to hell to save one, even one only soul." This is the heart of a shepherd: to go to hell, that is to the lowest limit in order to save a person. In this perspective, we can understand also Jesus' "descending into hell" on Holy Saturday. As a good shepherd, he went to seek those who were lost. Those who were forgotten, those who are and were in the hell of this world that evil and people have created.
Pope Francis insists that the shepherds have themselves the "smell "of the sheep. We need to pray that the Lord give his Church youth who listen to the invitation to be shepherds according to his heart.
And yet, it is from a community of believers who care about others that "shepherds" may be born. For the good shepherd is not a hero but rather a person who loves. To love means to have broad feelings like the ones Jesus had: "I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd." God's love makes us move to those who wander in our cities looking for a shelter, on that nearby man or distant woman who look for consolation and do not find it. The entire Christian community, joined to the Lord Jesus, is called to be moved by the crowds and with Jesus to pray so that workers for the vineyard of the Lord may not be lacking. At the same time, every believer, in front of God and in front of "the fields [that]are ripe for harvesting" (Jn 4:35), should say with the prophet: "Here am I; send me!" (Is 6:8).