Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Catholic Reflections: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Sunday, 22 April 2018

Homily Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Sunday, 22 April 2018

First Reading: Acts 4:8-12
Psalm: Ps 117:1. 8-9. 21-23. 26. 28-29. “
The stone rejected by the builders has become the corner stone.
Second Reading: John 3:1-2
Gospel Acclamation: John 10:14
Gospel: John 10:11-18

Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B - Sunday, 22 April 2018 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/easter-4b-faith-hope-and-love  (EPISODE: 92 )
This weekend, with the gospel reading about the Good Shepherd, it is also Prayer for Vocations weekend….    The key to vocations and discipleship is love….  And particularly God’s unique brand of love

God’s love is at the centre of all discipleship…    and all vocations…  and essentially in the vocation to the priesthood and religious life….

Pope and Saint John Paul, described Christianity not so much as a ‘religion’  but rather an “encounter” with God in Jesus.   Our discipleship is about  Encounter with Jesus and the wonder that it brings, followed by our communion with Jesus and next; Christ sends us out with a task – a mission…  so, in similar echoes of one of my favourite mottoes….  - “Jesus Communion and Mission,”  our discipleship is  ENCOUNTER< COMMUNION<MISSION!  

As disciples of Jesus….  We are not trying to merely imitate God’s actions, (as commendable as this would be),… nor are we merely trying to do what God, in Jesus, did, (as far as any human being could try to imitate our God made flesh)---    but rather…  we are ultimately striving to become more connected to what motivated Our Lord to act as he did. The reason and cause of all his actions and words…  which (at its core and centre)  is his identity as God – and God’s nature as infinite love… ….To become instruments of God’s love, ………………servants of God’s love…  and to become the love of God inside and out…

One of the reflections on vocations makes a wonderful illustration about the depths of God’s love, care and faithfulness to each one of us, the writer mentions the f
amous songwriter Irving Berlin, who is well known for writing hit songs like "Easter Parade," and "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." Berlin was once asked, "Is there any question you've never been asked that you would like someone to ask you?" "Well, yes, there is one," Berlin replied. He posed the question himself: "What do you think of the many songs you've written that didn't become hits?" Then he answered his own question: "My reply would be that I still think they are all wonderful."//, "God, too, has an unshakable delight in everything He has made. He thinks each of His children is wonderful, whether they're a ‘hit’ in the eyes of others or not. He will always think they're wonderful." Irving Berlin hit it right on the head. Here is the critical truth about faith--it is grounded in God's wondrous LOVE for us. We may not feel worthy to be loved, we may even push that love away at times…--but we cannot keep God from loving us. That is God's very nature. God is a shepherd – (a very good one – the best, in fact). God is love. Today on Good Shepherd Sunday we remember the truth that God always searches for the one who is lost, or who feels unworthy or unloved and carries them in His arms. Anyone who would follow Jesus ,(the good shepherd)  as a disciple or especially in the vocation as a priest or religious…..  must be prepared to have a love for God’s precious ones – after the example of the good shepherd himself. 

As the readings tell us this weekend “We are (all) God’s children.  We are God’s flock.  Jesus Himself promises us that we are no longer slaves but children of God. 

(And since God has given us freedom, he then invites us to give our freedom totally in service and love for others…, as Jesus himself did with his freedom).

Jesus tells us that He will lay His life down for us.  He has already died for us, but every day He is willing to lay down His life for us once more.  Salvation is not something in the past, salvation is today.

Today’s readings begin with one of the Acts of the Apostles.  Peter is trying to explain how a crippled man was cured and why.  What is really important is not so much the cure of the crippled man but the love of Jesus for His people.  Even today we do not always understand this.  Jesus will do
everything for us if we have faith in Him.  He heals us every day in so many ways. (true, sometimes we ask for help or healing in certain specific ways, and we don’t always get it. But God always answers our prayers in some way or another..  and even if God does not take all burdens from our shoulders, we can know that at least God is love and God is faithful and God does not will any bad thing for us or for others…. God only wants  to cherish us always). 

The second reading, from the First Letter of Saint John, is a wonderful prophecy of what heaven will be like:  we shall be like Him and we shall see Him as He is.  So much of our life here is spent trying to be like Him, trying to live as He lived, trying to love and He loved.  In heaven, we shall be like Him, and we will LOVE like him. That is the goal of all discipleship and vocation …   to love like God. If we LOVE as God does.. then all other things flow from it.

The Gospel today reflects that this is Good Shepherd Sunday.  We have readings that explain to us what a Good Shepherd is like.  This is an image trying to explain to us the care and the love that God has for us in Christ Jesus.  Truly there is no way in this life fully to comprehend the love that God has for us.

We should be able to speak every day of God’s love and care for us.  If we can quieten our hearts and our minds, we will more easily see this love and care of God at work every day in our lives.  God’s love always desires everything that is good for us…. 

Let us rejoice and be glad today.  Let us be still and listen and look for the signs of God’s love in our lives.  Let us be aware of how much healing God has already done in our lives” (A)

And may God keep transforming us into instruments of his love and grace…  that we might show God’s love and care to others we meet…  and slowly but surely be transformed from hired workers into shepherds after the Lord’s own heart…  (with love at its very centre)….


I was very impressed by the following resources and have relied heavily on them for this homily this weekend, (quoting them extensively).


Vocations day resources.  (2012) . Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Inaugural Speech to Clergy of Brisbane by Archbishop-elect of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge,  (2012) – taken from notes by Paul Kelly.

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“Faith, Hope and Love,  A time of Christian worship and reflection”  - Led by Rev Paul W. Kelly
Texts used in this programme are for the purposes of worship and prayer for listeners wherever you are.
Prayers and chants are taken from the English Translation of the Roman Missal, edition three, © 2010, The International commission on English in the liturgy.
Scriptures are from the New Revised Standard Version: © 1989,  by the national council of Churches of Christ, USA. , //adaptations to conform with Catholic liturgical norms, © 2009, by the same.
 [{selected psalms } - ***Psalm verses are (also) taken from “The Psalms: A New Translation” ©1963, The Grail (England), published by Collins.. **]

{ “Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin” -published 2011,  Composed and Sung by Jeffrey M. Ostrowski 
Featuring the….Gloria, The Creed, The Kyrie, The Mass parts, [[       - Psalms:  
http://www.ccwatershed.org/chabanel/  ]]] ] COPYRIGHT @ 2018 CORPUS CHRISTI WATERSHED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  www.ccwatershed.org/vatican/Ralph_Sherwin_Videos/  

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May God bless and keep you.

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year B
Sunday, 22 April 2018)

(EPISODE: 92 )
The Easter Season continues this weekend.  We see the wonderful boldness of the disciples, who fearlessly preach god’s word, even in the face of opposition.  And we see what a true leader should be like…  a shepherd who cares for and knows their flock… and would give their lives for them……  this is faith, hope and love.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins,
and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.
Lord Jesus, you are the image of the unseen God: Lord, have mercy.//You are the firstborn of all creation: Christ, have mercy//You are the head of the body, the Church: Lord, have mercy//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Memorial Acclamation

We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.


Easter III

Euch Prayer II

Communion side.  pwk: 
Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.

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