Liturgy Alive

The liturgical calendar 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter

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Sunday April 25 
 
Fourth Sunday of Easter
 
1. Shepherd with a Heart
 
2. I Know Mine and Mine Know Me 
 
Note. Good Shepherd Sunday is a world-wide prayer day for vocations. Today’s Mass fits the theme very well. Those who want to concentrate entirely on the theme of vocations today could use a Mass for vocations, from among the Masses and readings for various needs in the Sacramentary and the Lectionary. 
 
Greeting (see First Reading)
There is no other name
by which we are saved
than the name of Jesus Christ,
crucified but risen from the dead.
May the risen Lord Jesus be always with you. R/ And also with you.
 
 
Introduction by the Celebrant
 
 1.   A Shepherd with a Heart
 
We expect of people in charge of others, especially in tasks of leadership and service, that they are dedicated to those who rely on them: doctors, social workers, priests and ministers. For those who are Christians, the model is no other than Jesus, the Good Shepherd. He had a heart for people and was willing to go as far as laying down his life for them. All those responsible for others should be like him: not functionaries, not people who just do their job, but, whether lay or ordained, pastors, that is, literally, shepherds, shepherds with a heart, totally dedicated even at great cost to themselves. And let us not forget that we are all entrusted with and to one another. May Jesus among us inspire and guide us. 
 
2.   I Know Mine and Mine Know Me
 
We are pleasantly surprised when after many years someone recognizes us and calls us by our name. “He or she still remembers me,” you say. Jesus assures us today: “I know those who are mine and mine know me.” Through Jesus, one of our own, God knows us and loves us and calls us his children. With gratitude, we celebrate this Eucharist with Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who knows us and loves us. 
 
 
Penitential Act
Let us pray to our Good Shepherd to forgive us.
He looks for the lost sheep and does not condemn it.
We rely on his loving mercy.
                        (pause)
Lord Jesus, our Good shepherd,
you laid down your life for your sheep,
for all the people you came to save:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd,
you know your sheep, all your people,
and those who accept you know you:
Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy.
Lord Jesus, our Good Shepherd,
you still have other sheep who are outside
and you want them to belong in your flock:
Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy.
Have mercy on us, Lord,
seek us out and bring to us all
the peace of your forgiveness and love.
Lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen.
 
 
Opening Prayer
Let us pray
that Jesus may be the shepherd of our lives
                        (pause)
God our Father,
by his own free will
Jesus gave his life for us
that we might live and be saved.
Give us the courage to listen to his voice
and to follow him on the way to you.
May we also reflect the love he has shown us
by caring for one another
with the same self-forgetting kindness
he has shown to us.
We ask you this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.
 
 
First Reading:  Saved in the Name of the Risen Jesus
 
Peter professes without fear his faith in the risen Christ, in whose name he has saved a crippled man from his disability. It is the name by which we are all saved. 
 

Reading 1: ACTS 4:8-12

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said:
"Leaders of the people and elders:
If we are being examined today
about a good deed done to a cripple,
namely, by what means he was saved,
then all of you and all the people of Israel should know
that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean
whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead;
in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.

There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved."

 

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29

R. (22) The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD;
we bless you from the house of the LORD.
I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
for his kindness endures forever.
R. The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
or:
R. Alleluia. 

 

Second Reading: Really Children of God!

That we are God’s children is not just a beautiful thought but the deepest reality, because we are united with Jesus, God’s beloved Son. Only when we shall see God will we be capable of understanding this.

 

 Reading 2: 1 JN 3:1-2

Beloved:
See what love the Father has bestowed on us
that we may be called the children of God.
Yet so we are.
The reason the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God's children now;
what we shall be has not yet been revealed.
We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is. 

 

Alleluia: JN 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;
I know my sheep, and mine know me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

 

Gospel: Jesus, Our Good Shepherd

The image of a Shepherd and his sheep is not familiar to all of us, but we can understand this: Jesus has given his life for us; as our risen Lord he leads and unites us, not by force but by a personal knowledge of and love for each of us.

 

Gospel: JN 10:11-18

Jesus said:
"I am the good shepherd.
A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
A hired man, who is not a shepherd
and whose sheep are not his own,
sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away,
and the wolf catches and scatters them.
This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd,
and I know mine and mine know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father;
and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold.
These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice,
and there will be one flock, one shepherd.
This is why the Father loves me,
because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.
I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again.
This command I have received from my Father."

 

Intercessions

We are saved in the name of Jesus, our Good Shepherd who is alive and prays for us to the Father. Let us say to him:

      R/ Lord, keep us in your love.

–   For all ministers of the Church, that they may care for those entrusted to them with unselfish dedication, we pray:

                          R/ Lord, keep us in your love.

–   For the leaders of nations and all public servants, that they may place the interests of those entrusted to them above private gain and their own comfort, let us pray: R/ Lord, keep us in your love.

–   For all Christian Churches, that they work untiringly to become one under the one Shepherd, Jesus Christ, let us pray;

                          R/ Lord, keep us in your love.

–   For those who do not yet know Christ that they may encounter him and hear his voice through missionaries and other people who make Christ visible by the way they live his life, let us pray:

                          R/ Lord, keep us in your love.

–   For those abandoned by others, for victims of injustice and poverty and for all others who suffer, that they may encounter dedicated people who give them hope and leadership, let us pray:

                          R/ Lord, keep us in your love.

–   For all our Christian communities, that we may live as we believe and make the gospel credible in our time, let us pray:

                          R/ Lord, keep us in your love.

Lord Jesus, our shepherd and brother, keep us in your love. May we always know you and respond to you, for you are our Lord for ever. R/ Amen.

 

Prayer over the Gifts

Lord our God, loving Father,
your Son Jesus Christ gave his life for us
as the Good Shepherd;
he will give himself again to us
in these signs of bread and wine.
May we recognize his voice
in the cry of our neighbor in need
and give the best of ourselves to them
as he has done for us,
for he is your Son and our Lord for ever. R/ Amen.

 

Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer

In the Eucharistic Prayer we thank God for having made us his sons and daughters through Jesus, our Good Shepherd, who died for us to be our light and our life. It is a joy for us to say a hearty “Thank you!”

 

Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer

As God’s beloved sons and daughters
we pray to our Father
the prayer of Jesus, our Good Shepherd: R/ Our Father...

 

Deliver Us

Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
for you have given us your Son as our shepherd
to free us from sin and anxiety
and to unite us as your people.
Keep us in your love,
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...

 

At the Breaking of Bread

Jesus was broken for us
that we might be one in him.
Like him, we ought to share ourselves
with one another.

 

Invitation to Communion

This is the Good Shepherd
who laid down his life for us
and who knows us by name.
Happy are we to be invited to his table. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...

 

Prayer after Communion

Lord God, loving Father,
we thank you for the bread of himself
which our Good Shepherd has given us.
May he be the cornerstone, the foundation,
on which we build our lives
and your kingdom on earth,
a kingdom of justice and love,
of brotherhood and peace.
And may we learn from him
to live for one another.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. R/ Amen.

 

Blessing

God loves us. Of this we are sure.
We are no strangers to him.
He is near to us in all we do.
Let us not be strangers to one another
but people who build up one another
with the blessing of almighty God:
the Father who loves us,
his Son who leads us as our shepherd,
and the Holy Spirit who unites us. R/ Amen.

 

Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord in the people around us. R/ Thanks be to God.

 

Commentary

Shepherds spending a lot of time in isolated places with the flock meant that they build a loving relationship with their sheep. The shepherd called each sheep by name, and the sheep recognized his voice. Wild animals were the greatest dangers to the flock. The shepherds, were prepared to fight against them.

The image of the shepherd is often used in the Bible to refer to the leaders who were assigned to protect and lead the people. David was called by God “from the sheepfolds” to shepherd the Israelites. The kings of Israel were often compared to wicked shepherds, because instead of feeding the flock, they fed themselves, exploited, dispersed and killed the flock.

Shepherds were often hired-hands who worked for a salary. They did not have any emotional attachment to the flock, and at the face of danger, they fled. They were not interested in the fate of the sheep, but only in the salary.

But, the Old Testament also uses the image of the shepherd for God who guides, protects and nourishes his people; “he gathers the lambs in his arms, and gently leading those that are with young”.

Jesus’ statement “I am the good shepherd,” with which today’s Gospel begins, refers explicitly to the fulfilment of this prophecy. He is the fighter who, at the cost of his own life, confronts anyone who endangers the sheep. He has the figure of David who faced the lion and the bear that carried off a sheep. He pursued and knocked them down and rescued the victim from their mouth. Jesus undertakes a more dangerous mission to rescue his sheep, his people, that he willingly offers his life for them.

The Good Shepherd Sunday is a reminder and an invitation for every disciple of Jesus to cultivate a heart of a true shepherd who is not satisfied with fulfilling the minimum requirements. We are all shepherds. Gospel warns us not to behave like the hired hands who always have a lot to complain and are satisfied with merely fulfilling the given duties.

Love knows no boundaries. Whoever has a heart like Jesus, does not count the cost; they do not stop in the face of any obstacles, risks and sacrifices. The fate of the one who offers his/her life is not death, but the fullness of life. Making it a gift is the only way to “recover it.” “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Those who love their life destroy it, and those who despise their life in this world keep it for everlasting life.” Jesus the Good Shepherd calls us to be good shepherds of his sheep.

 

 

Liturgical Calendar 2021

Liturgical Calendar 2020
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