Catholic Mass Readings and Reflection April 22, 2024


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R/. My soul is thirsting for you, the living God.

V/. Alleluia

R/. Alleluia

V/. I am the good shepherd, says the Lord; I know my own and my own know me.

R/. Alleluia.

At that time: Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

1.      “I came to give life and have it in abundance”, says Jesus. Truly we are reeling through a destructive culture of death. Violence and harm mark our days. Some may argue that life is fostered and bettered due to advancement and technology. We do not deny it. But such progress is mostly material and external. But the real culture of life is more a matter of attitude and heart.

2.      Further despite material abundance and affluence, there is a deep sense of inner lacking and emptiness. There is a real sense of lack of peace and happiness. This is due to the increasing lack of goodness and faithfulness.

3.      Therefore, the words of Jesus that he gives life abundantly are very relevant and urgent. The Lord is the good shepherd. He leads his sheep, feeds them, and grants eternal life. Thieves and robbers and strangers that Jesus mentions refer to Satan and all the false leaders and values. They appear to promote life and abundance. But in reality, they only reduce life and aggravate the sense of meaninglessness.

4.      What is needed then? Turn to the good shepherd and follow him. For this, one must repent and be converted. Only repentance of heart and conversion of life is the greatest condition to belong to the good shepherd and experience his life. All the other external requirements like circumcision, food prohibitions, and laws are not guarantees for one’s belonging to the good shepherd as his faithful sheep.

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