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Scripture of the Week

DAILY SCRIPTURES

Reflection on the DAILY SCRIPTURES can be found at the following links:

'Our Daily Meditation' from Madonna Magazine - Jesuit Communications (Australia) 

Commentaries on the Daily Readings from SACREDSPACE (Ireland) 

Readings and Reflections on the day's Scripture (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) 

Daily Readings and Reflections (Passionist Fathers - USA) 

Commentary on the Gospel Reading for each day of the month (Dominican Fathers - Ireland)  

SUNDAY SCRIPTURES

Reflect on the Sunday Scriptures with:

Sr. Veronica Lawson rsm   SEE BELOW

Fr. John McKinnon click here

Fr. John Thornhill  click here

Sunday, 22 Apr 2018: Fourth Sunday of Easter - Year B

First Reading - Acts 4:8-12

This is the only name by which we can be saved.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said: ‘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, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 117:1. 8-9. 21-23. 26. 28-29. R. v.22

(R.) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.

or:

(R.) Alleluia.

Second Reading - 1 Jn 3:1-2

We shall see God as he is.

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,

by letting us be called God’s children;

and that is what we are.

Because the world refused to acknowledge him,

therefore it does not acknowledge us.

My dear people, we are already the children of God

but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;

all we know is, that when it is revealed

we shall be like him

because we shall see him as he really is.

Gospel Acclamation

Jn 10:14

Alleluia, alleluia!

I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;

I know my sheep, and mine know me.

Alleluia!

Gospel - Jn 10:11-18

The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.

Jesus said:

‘I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd is one who 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 and runs away
as soon as he sees a wolf coming,
and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;
this is 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 these I have to lead as well.
They too will listen to my voice,
and there will be only one flock
and 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 it is in my power to lay it down,
so it is in my power to take it up again;
and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’

Gospel Reflection:

This year we celebrate World Earth Day on Good Shepherd Sunday. The liturgy invites us to reflect on Jesus as the noble or good shepherd of the believing community. “Shepherd” in its literal sense is not really part of our 21st century vocabulary, and yet we use it metaphorically, as a verb or as a noun. Its verbal form connotes care and compassion, protection, guidance and tender relationship. In John’s gospel, Jesus rightly claims for himself the title “good shepherd”. He contrasts the good shepherd or leader with the leader that fails to care for the flock. Knowing one’s sheep, staying with them in the face of mortal danger and being prepared to die for them are marks of the good shepherd.

There are echoes here of the Hebrew Scriptures, particularly of Ezekiel 34 where the “shepherd/sheep” metaphor describes the leaders of Israel in their relationships with the people. There are likewise echoes of an early second century description of the Emperor Tiberius in whose reign Jesus of Nazareth was executed, precisely because he did not abandon his “flock”. The Roman historian Suetonius has this to say of Tiberius: “To the governors who recommended burdensome taxes for his provinces, he wrote in answer that it was the part of a good shepherd to shear his flock, not skin it” (Suetonius, Life of Tiberius 32.2).

In the pre-industrial biblical world and early centuries of the Common Era, the “shepherd/sheep” metaphor was heard by an audience that enjoyed a much closer relationship with sheep and their human carers than do most people today. In my country, for instance, there are 71 million sheep and almost 25 million people. In other words, the ovine inhabitants of Australia outnumber the human by almost three to one. Yet most of our highly urbanised human population knows its sheep only in their disembodied forms. The human-ovine relationship is, for the most part, reduced to that of consumer and consumed. Sheep are valued, not for their intrinsic goodness as creations of a loving God, but rather as commodities that provide food and clothing for the human population. We now know that modern domesticated sheep evolved from creatures that pre-date modern humans. We might take time to consider the implications of this for our relationship with the other-than-human inhabitants of our planetary home.

Celebrating World Earth Day on Good Shepherd Sunday provides us with an opportunity to move beyond our human-centred views of the world and our human-centred interpretations of our sacred texts. We might hear a call to value the realities that underpin gospel images such as the Good Shepherd/sheep metaphor. We might also hear a call to expand our appreciation of all the inhabitants of our planet. To be good shepherds in our time is to embrace the whole Earth Community with reverence and compassion.

   Sr Veronica Lawson rsm

© The scriptural quotations are taken from the Jerusalem Bible, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday & Co Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. The English translation of the Psalm Responses, the Alleluia and Gospel Verses, and the Lenten Gospel Acclamations, and the Titles, Summaries, and Conclusion of the Readings, from the Lectionary for Mass © 1997, 1981, 1968, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

 

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