Fourth Sunday of EasterReadings
4th Sunday of Easter
The Church recognizes that in the resurrection narratives of the gospels, Jesus affirms again and again his choice of Apostles, giving them authority to teach, to preach, to heal the sick, to forgive sins, to celebrate the Breaking of the Bread so that his real presence can be experienced by his people.
Today the Church chooses this gospel as a subtle way of emphasizing not just Christ’s role, but also the role of the Apostles, and especially Peter. In all of the gospel accounts, the only person who Jesus every associates with himself as a shepherd is Peter. In the resurrection story of John’s gospel, Jesus three times asks Peter, “Do you love me?” Three times Peter responds, “Yes, Lord.” Three times Jesus tells Peter to “tend His sheep.” Jesus calls Peter to be a shepherd here, assisting Jesus is The Good Shepherd in care of his flock. In no other place, to no other person, does Jesus give authority to be a shepherd with him.
Today, we hear Jesus speaking of recognizing the shepherd’s voice as he calls the sheep into the fold. The role of Peter, and the successors of Peter, the popes, is to call the sheep, to guide them, always to lead them to Jesus “the sheep gate.” The bishops, as the successors of the Apostles who were united and strengthened by Peter, share in the pope’s ministry of shepherding and are united and strengthened by the pope. The pope is the principle of unity in the Church. Pope Paul VI taught in Ecclesiam suam(83), “Take away the Pope and the Catholic Church would no longer be Catholic. Moreover, without the supreme, effective and authoritative pastoral office of Peter the unity of Christ’s Church would collapse. It would be vain to look for other principles of unity in place of the true one established by Christ himself…” The role of the office of Peter, which we enthusiastically look to be filled soon, helps keep us in the one flock of Christ.
Christ says, “Whoever enters the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” We can be assured that whoever is chosen by election to be our next Pope has been chosen by Christ through the Cardinals of the Church. For Christ would not allow anyone to be chosen who would not lead the faithful flock to Him.
Christ also says, “The sheep know his voice and follow him.” I cannot help but think that those who would so readily dismiss the teaching of the Magisterium expressed by the Holy Father do not really know the voice of Christ either. It is the promise of Christ that Peter and the Apostles, and their successors the pope and the bishops, would have the Holy Spirit as their guide. While the Holy Spirit is in each of us, in teaching, the Holy Spirit’s protection from error is a particular gift to the Apostles and their successors.
One of the ways the Risen Christ is still present in his Church is through the pope and the bishops united to him. To be faithful to their teaching is to be faithful to the teaching of Christ. Through them, we have guidance in our lives, especially in some of the most difficult decisions that we may face. Through them, we believe the Holy Spirit of Christ is still moving the Church towards that final green pasture of eternal life.
Are we faithful to the Good Shepherd’s teaching by being faithful to the teachings of the pope and bishops?
List of all Reflections:
|10/31/2012||November 4, 2012 - Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/24/2012||October 28, 2012-Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/17/2012||October 21, 2012-Twenty Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|02/29/2012||Second Sunday of Lent|
|01/18/2012||Third Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|08/17/2010||August 22, 2010|
|08/12/2010||Assumption of Mary|
The Birthday of the Church|
|05/29/2008||Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/16/2006||29th Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|10/13/2006||28th Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|06/28/2006||Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time|
|01/23/2006||January 29th, 2006|
|01/16/2006||January 22nd, 2006|
|01/09/2006||January 15th, 2006|
|12/28/2005||New Years Day|
|11/21/2005||First Sunday of Advent|
|11/14/2005||Solemnity of Christ the King|
|11/09/2005||November 13, 2005|
|09/27/2005||October 2, 2005|
|09/19/2005||September 25, 2005|
|09/13/2005||September 18, 2005|
|09/05/2005||September 11, 2005|
|08/31/2005||September 4, 2005|
|07/11/2005||July 17, 2005|
|07/07/2005||July 10, 2005|
|07/06/2005||July 3, 2005|
|06/21/2005||June 26, 2005|
|06/14/2005||June 19th, 2005|
|05/23/2005||Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ|
|05/16/2005||Holy Trinity Sunday|
|05/05/2005||May 8, 2005|
|04/26/2005||May 1st, 2005|
|04/18/2005||Fifth Sunday of Easter|
|04/11/2005||Fourth Sunday of Easter|
|04/06/2005||THIRD SUNDAY OF EASTER|
|04/06/2005||Divine Mercy Sunday|
|04/05/2005||Holy Thursday Homily|
|03/25/2005||The Passion of John|
|03/07/2005||FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT|
|02/28/2005||Fourth Sunday of Lent|
|02/23/2005||Third Sunday of Lent|
|02/14/2005||Second Sunday of Lent|
|02/10/2005||First Sunday of Lent|
|01/31/2005||Feb. 6, 2005|
|01/24/2005||January 30th, 2005|
|01/17/2005||January 23, 2005|
|01/10/2005||January 16, 2005|
|01/05/2005||January 9th, 2005|
|01/02/2005||January 2, 2005|
|12/28/2004||Mary, Mother of God - Jan. 1st|
|12/26/2004||Feast of the Holy Family|
|12/13/2004||Fourth Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14. Psalm 24: 1-6.
Romans 1:1-7. Matthew 1:18-24.|
|12/06/2004||Third Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10. Psalm 146:6-10.
James 5:7-10. Matthew 11:2-11.
|12/01/2004||Second Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10. Psalm 72, 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17.
Romans 15:4-9. Matthew 3: 1-12|
|11/29/2004||First Sunday of Advent
Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5. Psalm 122:1-9.
Romans 13:11-14. Matthew 24:37-44.|
|11/22/2004||The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
2 Samuel 5:1-3, Psalm 122:1-5,
Colossians 1:12-20, Luke 23:35-43|