Homily Fourth Sunday of Easter Year A Jesus, Lord, Messiah, Shepherd and Guide

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Homily Fourth Sunday of Easter Year A

Reading 1: A central mystery of our faith is that Jesus, who was crucified, has risen and he is both Lord and Christ. Calling him Lord, Peter acknowledges that Jesus is true God and true Man. Calling him Christ, Peter proclaims that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

When the people heard this proclamation, their hearts were moved by the Holy Spirit to seek guidance as to their response. What Peter tells them is what he and the other ten disciples did during the ten days following Jesus’ Ascension. They repented of their own sins. They acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and Savior and they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Basically, what Peter taught is what we believe. Faith in Jesus and repentance brings the forgiveness of sins, new life and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

As we prepare for the Solemnity of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, we too can receive a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Repentance of our sins, renewed commitment of our lives to the Lordship of Jesus and an expectation of a fresh infilling of the Spirit are the steps that are needed. If that happened to the three thousand hearers, can it not happen to us today?

Gospel: Jesus is our true Shepherd. His own knows his voice and follow him as he leads them. He alone gives us life abundantly. This truth of the Gospel is still valid in spite of the circumstances of life.

The Church at different times in its 2000 years of history has gone through many crises and times of darkness and trials. These were times of purification for the Church. And the Church emerged stronger each time. Why? Jesus is the Lord and the Christ. Jesus forgives sins, when repentance is present. Jesus is the Shepherd and guide of our souls. He is still in charge. He has sent the Holy Spirit to be with the Church until the end of time. The gates of hell shall not prevail.

Whom do we follow? Is Jesus the Lord and Messiah in fact of our lives? Are we in tune with his grace and the sound of his voice? Do we follow the lead of the Spirit so that we may know when Jesus is speaking to us and when something or someone other than Jesus is drawing us away? How do we know? Do we take time to listen? Do we recommit our lives every day? Do we vigorously try to avoid sin? Do we act on the inner voice of God within us?

Reading 2: Jesus is acknowledged as one who suffered, took upon himself our sins and through his suffering and death freed us from sin. As a result, he brought us into a life of righteousness. We have been healed. For all he has done, we, in turn, acknowledge and submit to him as the shepherd and guide of our souls.

We too suffer. But how do we embrace our suffering? Do we share our suffering with that of Jesus? To do so, gives meaning and purpose to our suffering. This is what Paul means when he says: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking* in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24). But not to do so, renders our sufferings, in a sense, useless.

Either we enter into and embrace the mystery of Jesus as Lord, Messiah, Shepherd and guide or we remain isolated in our own world. The choice is ours.

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