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.
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by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
Are you ready to continue your “post-graduate” work as a Christian?
On the Sundays of Easter the liturgy offers instruction for the newly-baptized. And all of us are “enrolled” in that course along with them. Our “curriculum” comes from the First Letter of Peter, the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels. They all suggest how a community rooted in Christ witnesses in the world, with the Holy Spirit’s help.
Today we’re reminded again of the Jesus we follow. A sermon from Acts on the first Pentecost calls listeners to conversion. The second reading—perhaps drawn from an early baptismal instruction to Christian converts who were slaves—presents Jesus as the “Suffering Servant,” a theme we heard in Holy Week. The instruction urges the newly- baptized to identify with and follow Christ as “shepherd of our souls.”
It’s a metaphor found in John’s Gospel. Imagine a crowded sheepfold—noisy with milling flocks and the conflicting voices of shepherds calling their sheep. It’s a likely place for a thief to slip over the wall and do mischief.
But the Good Shepherd enters boldly by the main gate, calls us by name, and we recognize him. With the voice of the Shepherd calling us, we continue our Easter celebration of baptism.
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by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In the first reading (Acts 2:14a, 36-41), Peter’s Easter proclamation continues: “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified.” His hearers ask Peter: “What are we to do, brothers?” So what does Peter tell them they should do?
How many people were baptized that same day? Can you imagine how busy the Apostles were?
• What does the second reading from the First Letter of St. Peter (1Pt 2:20b-25) urge his readers and us to do?
Peter holds up Jesus as our model for living as his disciples. Jesus suffered patiently and died for us. What should we do when suffering comes our way?
• Jesus uses the image of a good shepherd in his teaching. Today’s Gospel (Jn 10:1-10) develops the theme of the ‘good shepherd’ and goes further. What additional image does Jesus add today?
Jesus also teaches us why he came. What does Jesus tell us in the last line of today’s reading?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• Struggling to find things for your kids to do while you’re staying at home? Download these coloring pages.
• The shepherd knows his sheep well. Find out how well you know your family members/friends by playing a game where you say two things about yourself that are true and one that is not.
• For younger kids, have them play a game of Simon Says to mimic the way the sheep follow the shepherd.