“For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them.” (Revelation 7:17)
Reflections on the readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (May 8, 2022): ACTS 13:14,43-52; PS 100:1-2,3,5; REV 7:9,14-17; JN 10:27-30
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
The bond between Christ and His followers is a lasting one. He will never leave us or fail us. Only if we choose to reject Him...
On this Good Shepherd Sunday, the liturgical readings remind us of our Lord as the Good Shepherd who not only tends to the well-being of His flock, but who is also willing to lay down His life for them. The bond between Christ and His followers is a lasting one. He will never leave us or fail us. Only if we choose to reject Him, can we be separated from Him. But He does not give up on us easily. And He does not expect His disciples who are entrusted with His message to be easily stopped either. In the first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we learn how Ss. Paul and Barnabas first meet with success in their preaching in Antioch in what is now Turkey. But when some leaders became envious, the two were persecuted by certain prominent men and women and driven out of the area. So the two directed their attention from the Jews to Gentiles. Rather than give up on their mission to share the gift of salvation with others, they set out to find people who would embrace it. In fact, Paul and Barnabas did not hesitate to speak out boldly and let both the Jewish and Gentile communities know that, “‘The Lord has commanded us, I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.’ The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. … And the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. … The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:47,49,52).
Paul and Barnabas, like Peter and Jesus’ other Apostles and disciples, persisted in their efforts and eventually spread the Church throughout the Mediterranean area -- and beyond. Our Savior and Shepherd had entrusted His flock into the hands of those who came after Him to preach, baptize, and share His mercy. We, too, must answer His call, whatever it may be and wherever it takes us.
Suggested missionary action: This Fourth Sunday after Easter honors the Good Shepherd and is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Let us ask our Shepherd to guide people in being open to the Divine Will in discerning their vocations. We also pray that more and more people respond generously to the calling to the priesthood and religious life.