HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER -CYCLE A

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HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

CYCLE A

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

Reading 1

ACTS 2:14A, 36-41

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,

raised his voice, and proclaimed:

“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain

that God has made both Lord and Christ,

this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,

and they asked Peter and the other apostles,

“What are we to do, my brothers?”

Peter said to them,

“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,

in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;

and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

For the promise is made to you and to your children

and to all those far off,

whomever the Lord our God will call.”

He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,

“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Those who accepted his message were baptized,

and about three thousand persons were added that day.

Responsorial Psalm

PS 23: 1-3A, 3B4, 5, 6

R. (1) The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

or:

R. Alleluia.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

In verdant pastures he gives me repose;

beside restful waters he leads me;

he refreshes my soul.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

or:

R. Alleluia.

He guides me in right paths

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for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk in the dark valley

I fear no evil; for you are at my side.

With your rod and your staff

that give me courage.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

or:

R. Alleluia.

You spread the table before me

in the sight of my foes;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

or:

R. Alleluia.

Only goodness and kindness follow me

all the days of my life;

and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD

for years to come.

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

or:

Alleluia.

Reading 2

1 PT 2:20B-25

Beloved:

If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good,

this is a grace before God.

For to this you have been called,

because Christ also suffered for you,

leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps.

He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.

When he was insulted, he returned no insult;

when he suffered, he did not threaten;

instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly.

He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross,

so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness.

By his wounds you have been healed.

For you had gone astray like sheep,

but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

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Alleluia

JN 10:14

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

I am the good shepherd, says the Lord;

I know my sheep, and mine know me.

Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel

JN 10:1-10

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.

When he has driven out all his own,

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he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,

because they recognize his voice.

But they will not follow a stranger;

they will run away from him,

because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Although Jesus used this figure of speech,

the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you,

I am the gate for the sheep.

All who came before me are thieves and robbers,

but the sheep did not listen to them.

I am the gate.

Whoever enters through me will be saved,

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and will come in and go out and find pasture.

A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;

I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, says the Lord.”  Isaiah 55:8

I wonder how many people who heard this Gospel passage proclaimed in church today, AND like the pharisees criticized by Jesus in the Gospel,

“did not realize what he was trying to tell them.”

In a sense it is even more difficult for us living in this modern world “to realize what he was trying to tell” us!

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The pharisees had less reason to be excused since they lived in a pastoral world in which flocks of sheep were a big part of the economy of the time.

Modern man, on the other hand has little or not experience with sheep.

But I cannot use that as an excuse for not understanding the message of Jesus Christ.

When I was a boy I asked my father for a lamb as a pet and he gave me a lamb.

I grew up caring for that lamb and when I entered Rice University I gave it to a family willing to give it a good home.

When I was a bishop and Chairman of the NCCB ad hoc Committee on Migration and Refugees I received an appeal from Basque sheepherders and their families who were brought to America by the sheep

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industry in the western states to take care of the immense flocks of sheep in those states.  The sheep associations however were not concerned with the spiritual welfare of the Basque people in the U.S.

I negotiated with the bishops of southern France and northern Spain to lend priests to our western dioceses to provide spiritual care for the Basque people.  Sad to say, some of the western bishops would not help.

Years later, while vacationing in Colorado, flyfishing on the Cimarron River in the San Juan mountains, I was camped by a mountain trail.  Basque shepherds came walking up the trail followed by 5,000 yes you heard correctly, 5,000 sheep on their way to the pastures higher up on the mountain.  Many of the sheep were limping

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on legs injured on rocks and in gopher holes.

After I retired I used my experience as President of the Kennedy Foundation by running my own little ranch near Mathis/Tynan where I ran 100 head of cattle and 100 head of sheep.  I learned that Our Lord spoke of sheep so often because of the needs of sheep (the animal) and sheep (the people of God in the Church); they have a lot in common.

But, of course, Jesus was not literally referring to those who accept his Gospel message and submit in faith to his call to become united with him.  He was speaking metaphorically.

What is the definition of a metaphor?  A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a

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word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.

To understand any metaphor you must understand both word or phrase and the object or action to which it is applied.

Let’s examine the metaphors Jesus used in the first part of today’s Gospel:

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,

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as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

When he has driven out all his own,

he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,

because they recognize his voice.

But they will not follow a stranger;

they will run away from him,

because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Unlike the sheep on my ranch which were all keep at night in my own pens, in the time of Jesus in Israel each village had a communal pen and all the sheep of all the different villagers were kept overnight in the same pen for safekeeping from predators.

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Each morning a shepherd would approach the pen and the villager guarding the sheep would open the gate and the shepherd would call his sheep and only his sheep would leave the pen and follow him.

Now for the metaphor.

Jesus is saying that those persons who have accepted his call and been baptized hear his call enunciated through his Church to come out into the world and put their faith in practice, listening to his voice echoing in their minds after having been exposed to his Gospel through hearing, reading, reflecting aided by the magisterium of the Church.

In todays world there are a lot of false shepherds and false prophets even as there were in Jesus’ time; many more.

His flock had to contend with the false teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees.

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Jesus’ flock today have to contend with the call to schism and heresy issued by bishops and priests who echo the call men like Cardinal Kasper.

Be on your guard!!!

Listen for the voice of Jesus in the teaching and preaching of orthodox  and conservative priests and bishops who

faithfully echo the call of Jesus.  The call of Jesus was expressed to countless generations of Catholics through such magisterial documents as the

Catechism of the Catholic Church

If you do not own a personal copy, buy one and use it frequently;  it is almost a bible since it is filled with holy scripture citations for every thing it says about the faith and living the faith in a secular world that i

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increasingly hostile to God and to Christians.

Almighty God,

Eternal Father,

have pity on the sheep of your flock.

They live in a world now

dominated by electronic media which is being used to broadcast the deafening call of false shepherds to follow the way of relativism and proportionalism.

Give them the help of the Holy Spirit to hear the voice of their true Shepherd, 

Jesus Christ

calling them to remain steadfast in orthodoxy.

This we ask through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who lives and reigns in unity with You and the Holy Spirit, 

One God, 

forever and ever !!!  

Amen !!!

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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4 Responses to HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER -CYCLE A

  1. sanbenito@granderiver.net says:

    Thank you so much, dear Bishop Gracida, for this insightful homily so apropos for today!

    Since we are Benedictines of the Good Shepherd, it meant much to us.

    We pray, grieve and wait on the Lord and our Mother Mary to untangle these HUGE KNOTS at the

    Vatican and other areas.

    He will never abandon us, YES!

    Prayerfully,

    Your Sister Nancy

  2. Judie Brown says:

    God bless you, your Excellency.

    Judie

    On Sun, May 7, 2017 at 12:12 PM, ABYSSUS ABYSSUM INVOCAT / DEEP CALLS TO DEEP wrote:

    > abyssum posted: ” HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER CYCLE A Bishop > Rene Henry Gracida Reading 1 ACTS 2:14A, 36-41 Then Peter stood up with the > Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: “Let the whole house of Israel > know for certain that God has made both Lord and Ch” >

  3. 3names1God says:

    Always wanted to know more about sheep. Praying to be a attentive listener to the Shepherd. Also act upon what is listened to.

  4. Jane Griffin says:

    Amen ! Wonderful homily.

Comments are closed.