Today the fourth Sunday of Easter, we celebrate the Good Shepherd Sunday. Today’s liturgy calls on us to focus our attention on Jesus Christ our risen Lord and the Good Shepherd who has given His life for His flock to bring us back to God. Today’s celebration is also an invitation to appreciate and pray for all the good shepherds in our lives as Catholic Christians especially the Pope who lead, guide, protect and bring us closer to God. The image of Jesus the Good Shepherd emphasized to us in today’s gospel reading from the gospel of Saint John 10:1-10 is an invitation to pay attention to the mercy of God shown in the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. It is also a call to belong to the sheepfold of Christ by knowing the Good Shepherd, by listening to Him and by following His examples. This request to belong to the sheepfold of Christ was also emphasized by Saint Peter in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles 2:14a, 36-41 as he calls on the Israelites to return to God by acknowledging and appreciating His mercy and love for them. Then in our second reading from the First Letter of Saint Peter 2:20b-25, Saint Peter reminds us to return to God, the shepherd and guardian of your souls, by following the example and footsteps of Christ. So how do we acknowledge and accept Jesus as the Good Shepherd and how do we become members of His flock?

To acknowledge and accept Jesus as the Good Shepherd and become members of His flock, we really have to know who He is on a personal level spiritually speaking by asking ourselves these questions! Who is God to me? How important is He in my life and what makes Him important in my life? Is He the center of my life? Do I know His gospel through the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church? If I know who God is, then do I really listen to His Word in the Scriptures and His teachings and doctrines as taught by the Catholic Church? Or am I distracted from hearing and listening to Him by earthly things, worries and my personal bias and idiosyncrasies? If I follow Him as a member of His flock, have I truly accepted His Word and am I living out His gospel in thought, word or deed?

My dear brothers and sisters, Jesus said in today’s gospel reading, "Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture." So let us be part of God’s flock and enter that gate so as to be saved by Him and enter His pasture, firstly by striving daily to know Him which is an appreciation and acceptance of the great privilege of being His disciples. Secondly, by hearing and listening to His voice and words to us in the Scriptures, Sacraments, Teachings and Doctrines of the Catholic Church with our hearts and not just with our ears. And lastly, by truly and sincerely following Him as members of His flock by always doing what He asks of us. Amen!