Sunday 7th May: 4th Sunday of Easter (a)
Today is sometimes referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday. It has been declared by the Pope to be the World day of Prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. It is a day when we remember that through our baptism, God calls each one of us to the fullness of Christian life.
St. Peter in the first reading proclaims Jesus as the risen Lord and urges his hearers to repent and accept baptism.
In the second reading, we hear from Peter again. This time he reminds how Jesus humbly suffered for our sake.
The Gospel passage, from St. John, compares his love for his disciples to the love of a shepherd for his sheep.
Monday 8th May: Monday in fourth week of Easter.
From its earliest beginnings, there was a conflict or tension among some Christians, who believed that a pagan convert had first to become a Jew before becoming a Christian. They criticise Peter but he has the answer ready for them. All of God’s creation is good and of value.
The Gospel again presents us with the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. He knows his sheep and they know his voice. He is the gate of the sheepfold.
Tuesday 9th May: Tuesday in fourth week of Easter.
The scattering after Stephen’s martyrdom led the apostles to different parts of the Greek world where they began to convert pagans. It is at Antioch the word Christian is used for the first time. It is constantly expressed that all this work is the work of the Holy Spirit
The Shepherd and Sheep relation is used again by Jesus to further the relationship that should exist between Jesus and his people.
Wednesday 10th May: Wednesday in fourth week of Easter.
Saul who is now Paul sets off with Barnabas on the first missionary journey. They are sent out in a ceremony of commissioning in which the Spirit is imparted to him on behalf of the whole community.
Jesus introduced another of his ‘I am’ themes. This time he refers to himself as the light of the world and talks of his unique relationship with the Father.
Thursday 11th May: Thursday in fourth week of Easter.
Paul travels to Cyprus and then on to Pamphylia and Antioch. It is here we hear of his preaching his first great sermon showing that the saviour is indeed Jesus who has risen from the dead.
For the rest of the Easter season, we have extracts from Jesus’ farewell discourse to the apostles at the Last Supper. Many regard this as his last will and testament.
Friday 12th May: Friday in fourth week of Easter.
Paul continues his sermon. The people of Jerusalem had not recognised Jesus as the promised saviour and they crucified him. God raised him from the dead. This is the Good News.
Jesus promises to look after his faithful followers even though they will not see him. He consoles and comforts them as he prepared for his passion.
Saturday 13th May: Saturday in fourth week of Easter.
Many Jews became Christians as a result of Paul’s sermon. Others tried to turn the crowds against him. He spoke to the pagans but eventually had to leave because of the rejection by the Jews.
Jesus is the way because he shares his life with the Father and with us. He knows what to ask the Father because he prays out of a life lived in a communion of faith and love with Jesus.