4th Sunday of Easter Year A
My sheep hear my voice
Almighty ever-living God,
lead us to a share in the joys of heaven
so that the humble flock may reach
where the brave Shepherd has gone before.
Today is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, for the Gospel is always taken from St John, where Jesus speaks of himself as the ‘Good Shepherd’.
A shepherd leads his flock and Jesus is the shepherd who leads his followers. The sheep know his voice, trust him, and will follow only him. In the same way, we also keep today as Vocations Sunday, when the Church prays for new ‘good shepherds’ to lead our Christian communities, especially at this difficult time.
In the First Reading, Peter proclaims to the crowd that Jesus is both Lord and Christ. They are invited to have faith in Christ, and by repenting and being baptised, they will be forgiven. Peter reminds them that God’s promise is for everyone.
This familiar Psalm demonstrates the hope and trust of the psalmist in the Lord who is my shepherd, and who cares for me providing guidance, comfort and rest.
In the Second Reading, Peter continues encouraging the people to follow Christ’s example and to put their trust in God, particularly when times are difficult or unjust. By dying on the cross he has healed us and brought us back to God.
Jesus tells his disciples – and us – that he is the gate of the sheepfold; it is in following him that we can have the fullness of life. (Gospel)
In my prayer this week, I may want to take time to speak to Jesus as my shepherd and reflect on what that means for me. On this Vocations Sunday, perhaps I can also consider how I am responding to the way Jesus is calling me, and pray that others also hear his invitation.