4th Sunday of Easter / Good Shepherd Sunday, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: White.
First reading: Acts 4:8-12
The name of Jesus Christ is the only name in which we can be saved
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter said: ‘Rulers of the people, and elders! If you are questioning us today about an act of kindness to a cripple, and asking us how he was healed, then I am glad to tell you all, and would indeed be glad to tell the whole people of Israel, that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the one you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by this name and by no other that this man is able to stand up perfectly healthy, here in your presence, today. This is the stone rejected by you the builders, but which has proved to be the keystone. For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.’
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 117(118):1,8-9,21-23,26,28-29
The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.
Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his love has no end.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men;
it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
I will thank you for you have answered and you are my saviour.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the corner stone.
This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.
Blessed in the name of the Lord is he who comes.
We bless you from the house of the Lord; You are my God, I thank you.
My God, I praise you. Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; for his love has no end.
Second reading: 1 John 3:1-2
We shall be like God because we shall see him as he really is
Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us,
by letting us be called God’s children; and that is what we are.
Because the world refused to acknowledge him, therefore it does not acknowledge us.
My dear people, we are already the children of God
but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed;
all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him
because we shall see him as he really is.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my own sheep and my own know me.
Gospel: John 10:11-18
The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep
Jesus said: ‘I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.
The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him,
abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming,
and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;
this is because he is only a hired man and has no concern for the sheep.
‘I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.
And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well.
They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, and one shepherd.
‘The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will,
and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again;
and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
The priestly vocation is a call to the pastoral ministry, that is, to the service of Christ’s flock: a service that you are about to undertake in the Diocese of Rome and in other particular Churches. The Christian community is praying for you today, so that the “great shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20) may impart to you that total love which is indispensable for the pastors of the Church.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 20 April 1997)
The priest is a “man of hope”, not because he relies on his human strength and resources — indeed he continues to be burdened by human frailty — but because sacramental grace sustains him and makes him a living icon of Christ the Good Shepherd, who “lays down his life for his sheep” (John 10:11). This is what Jesus expects from his ministers. Their life has meaning, if it is a life that is “laid down”, illumined by the risen Christ.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Regina Caeli, 20 April 1997)
In a little while the Church will advise each of you: "Know what you are doing and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord's Cross" (Rite). Model your life on the mystery of Christ's Cross!
It is Christ who saves and sanctifies, and you will share directly in his work to the extent of the intensity of your union with him. If you abide in him, you will bear abundant fruit; but without him you can do nothing (cf. John 15: 5). He has chosen you and today "appoints" you so that you will go and bear fruit, and your fruit will abide (cf. John 15: 16).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 14 May 2000)
Dear brothers and sisters, during this month of May, which popular tradition dedicates to Mary, let us constantly turn our hearts and minds to her and imitate her example of faithful fidelity to the divine plan.
Accepting the invitation that the Blessed Virgin made to believers precisely at Fátima, let us pray and do penance for the Church, for the sanctification of priests, for the conversion of all who live in sin and for peace in the world.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Regina Caeli, 14 May 2000)
Configured to Christ the Good Shepherd, dear candidates for ordination, you will be ministers of divine mercy. You will administer the sacrament of Reconciliation, thereby fulfilling the mandate passed on by the Lord to the Apostles after the Resurrection: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained" (John 20: 22-23). How many miracles and wonders worked by God's mercy will you witness in the confessional!
But to fulfil worthily the mission that is entrusted to you today demands that you be constantly united with God through prayer and experience his merciful love yourselves by regularly going to Confession, letting expert spiritual counsellors guide you, especially in life's demanding moments.
Pope Saint John Paul II (Homily, 11 May 2003)
Let us pray that these new priests, and all the priests of the world, may be ever more closely conformed to Christ, Servant of the Lord, who came not to be served but to serve (cf. Matthew 20: 28)…
Dear friends, by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation, every Christian is called to be a Gospel witness. However, God has always invited some, with a special vocation, to make an even more complete gift of themselves for the cause of the Kingdom. He has certainly turned his gaze also upon the young men and women of today. I urge all who hear his voice resounding in their hearts to give their own generous "yes" to him and then to nourish it daily in prayer, remaining united to Christ like branches to the vine (cf. John 15: 5).
Pope Saint John Paul II (Regina Caeli, 11 May 2003)
It is through him that one must enter the service of shepherd. Jesus highlights very clearly this basic condition by saying: "he who... climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber" (John 10: 1). This word "climbs" - anabainei in Greek - conjures up the image of someone climbing over a fence to get somewhere out of bounds to him.
"To climb" - here too we can also see the image of careerism, the attempt to "get ahead", to gain a position through the Church: to make use of and not to serve. It is the image of a man who wants to make himself important, to become a person of note through the priesthood; the image of someone who has as his aim his own exaltation and not the humble service of Jesus Christ.
But the only legitimate ascent towards the shepherd's ministry is the Cross. This is the true way to rise; this is the true door. It is not the desire to become "someone" for oneself, but rather to exist for others, for Christ, and thus through him and with him to be there for the people he seeks, whom he wants to lead on the path of life.
One enters the priesthood through the Sacrament, and this means precisely: through the gift of oneself to Christ, so that he can make use of me; so that I may serve him and follow his call, even if it proves contrary to my desire for self-fulfilment and esteem. Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 7 May 2006)
Another special form of the following of Christ is the vocation to the consecrated life, which is expressed in living a poor, chaste and obedient existence totally dedicated to God in contemplation and in prayer and at the service of others, especially the lowly and poor.
Moreover, let us not forget that Christian marriage is in all respects a vocation to holiness, and that the example of holy parents is the first favourable condition for the flourishing of priestly and religious vocations.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us invoke the intercession of Mary, Mother of the Church, for priests and men and women Religious; let us pray too that the seeds of a vocation that God sows in the hearts of the faithful may reach full maturity and bear fruits of holiness in the Church and in the world.
Pope Benedict XVI (Regina Caeli, 7 May 2006)
The priest who prays a lot, and who prays well, is progressively drawn out of himself and evermore united to Jesus the Good Shepherd and the Servant of the Brethren. In conforming to him, even the priest "gives his life" for the sheep entrusted to him. No one takes it from him: he offers it himself, in unity with Christ the Lord, who has the power to give his life and the power to take it back not only for himself, but also for his friends, bound to him in the Sacrament of Orders. Thus the life of Christ, Lamb and Shepherd, is communicated to the whole flock, through the consecrated ministers.
Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 3 May 2009)
In private as well as in community, we must pray very much for vocations, so that the greatness and the beauty of the love of God may attract many to follow Christ on the path of priesthood and in consecrated life. Equally, we must also pray so that there may be saintly spouses, able to show their children, especially through their example, the lofty horizons to strive for with their freedom. The saints, men and women, that the Church proposes for veneration by all the faithful, testify to the ripened fruit of this interweaving between the Divine calling and the human response. Let us entrust our prayer for vocations to their heavenly intercession. Pope Benedict XVI (Regina Caeli, 3 May 2009)
The celebrant then says in the explanatory Rites, at the moment of the anointing with chrism: “The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God”. And then in the presentation of the bread and the wine he says: “Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to him. Know what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross”…
This Eucharistic and sacrificial dimension is inseparable from the pastoral dimension and constitutes the nucleus of truth and of the saving power on which the effectiveness of every activity depends. Of course, we are not speaking of effectiveness solely at the psychological or social level, but rather of the vital fruitfulness of God’s presence at the profound human level. Preaching itself, good works and the actions of various kinds that the Church carries out with her multiple initiatives would lose their salvific fruitfulness were the celebration of Christ’s Sacrifice to be lacking. And this is entrusted to ordained priests. Indeed, the priest is called to live in himself what Jesus experienced personally, that is, to give himself without reserve to preaching and to healing man of every evil of body and of spirit, and then, lastly, to sum up everything in the supreme gesture of “laying down his life”, for human beings, which finds its sacramental expression in the Eucharist, the perpetual memorial of Jesus’ Passover. It is only through this “door” of the Paschal Sacrifice that the men and women of all time can enter eternal life; it is through this “holy way” that they can undertake the exodus that leads them to the “promised land” of true freedom, to the “green pastures” of never ending peace and joy (cf. John 10:7,9; Psalm 77:14, 20-21; Psalm 23:2). Pope Benedict XVI (Homily, 29 April 2012)
In fact, each one of us is the fruit of love: of our parents’ love of course, but more profoundly, of God’s love. The Bible says: even if your own mother does not want you, I want you because I know and love you (cf. Isaiah 49:15). The moment I realize this my life changes. It becomes a response to this love, greater than any other, and in this way my freedom is completely fulfilled.
The young men whom I ordained priests today are no different from other young men, except that they were deeply moved by the beauty of God’s love and could not but respond with their whole life. How did they find God’s love? They found it in Jesus Christ: in his Gospel, in the Eucharist and in the community of the Church. In the Church we discover that every person’s life is a love story. Sacred Scripture clearly shows us this and the witness borne by the saints confirms it to us.
St Augustine’s words are an example of this. Addressing God, he says in his Confessions: “Too late I loved you, O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new! Too late I loved you! And behold, you were within and I abroad.... You were with me, but I was not with you... But you called and shouted and burst through my deafness” (X.27.38). Pope Benedict XVI (Regina Caeli, 29 April 2012)
Remembering that you have been chosen from among men and constituted on their behalf to attend to the things of God, exercise the priestly ministry of Christ with joy and genuine love, with the sole intention of pleasing God and not yourselves. It is unseemly when a priest lives for his own pleasure and “struts like a peacock”! Pope Francis I (Homily, 26 April 2015)
Christ is the true shepherd, who fulfils the loftiest model of love for the flock: He freely lays down his own life, no one takes it from Him (cf. John 10:18), but He gives it for the sheep (John 10:17). In open opposition to false shepherds, Jesus presents himself as the one true shepherd of the people. A bad pastor thinks of himself and exploits the sheep; a good shepherd thinks of the sheep and gives himself. Unlike the mercenary, Christ the pastor is a careful guide who participates in the life of his flock, does not seek other interests, has no ambition other than guiding, feeding and protecting his sheep. All of this at the highest price, that of sacrificing his own life.
Pope Francis I (Regina Caeli, 26 April 2015)
Note: This webpage has many hyperlinks to the Vatican Webpage. The above extracts were compiled for your easy reading.
This Publication is aimed to encourage all of Goodwill around the World. It is not for business or profit purposes but it is our way to thank our Creator for His continuous blessings!
Compiled on 22 April 2018