READINGS for 2008-04-13

Didache | Companion | Sabbath



“… the sheep follow Him, because they recognize his voice.” – John 10:4
When does the sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice? After so listening to it over and over. How does the sheep listen to the shepherd’s voice again and again? By being with the shepherd day by day.
When my wife and I were starting as a couple, we groped with how to deal with each other as two different persons coming from different worlds, with different tastes and different moods. But because we love each other and wanted to continue doing so forever, we got to know each other better.
She now knows my favorite food. I know her favorite TV program. She knows my sleeping patterns. I know her bathroom ethics. But we didn’t learn all these in one night. We stayed on together — day by day. Though we still continue to discover new things, we now know each other quite well. We can even tell what the other is feeling just by the tone of one’s voice!
You want to recognize God’s voice? Then stay with Him. Day by day. Talk to each other. Walk together. Go through thick and thin together. And you’ll see how listening to His voice becomes clearer and following Him becomes pure joy! Alvin Barcelona
If listening to God’s voice has become difficult for you, you may want to ask, how long have I been staying with Him?
Or have you been straying away? Day by day, Oh dear Lord three things I pray: To see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day.


Peter gives the people no options – repentance is a must! I think we need to hear the call to repentance often and very clearly. Even if we have not fallen into major sin since the last time we heard the call to repent, it will still remind us of the need to avoid and resist temptation. The call to repentance also reminds us of the love and mercy of our God and the call to entrust our lives totally to His love.
Acts 2: 14a, 36-41
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed: 36 “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” 38 Peter [said] to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” 40 He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about  three thousand persons were added that day.
Psalm 23: 1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
R: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 In verdant pastures he gives me repose; beside restful waters he leads me; 3 he refreshes my soul. (R) He guides me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage. (R) 5 You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. (R) 6 Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. (R)
History shows us the futility of fighting violence with violence. Although there are “winners” in a war, everyone is ultimately a loser when we take into account the death and destruction involved. Wouldn’t it make much more sense to work out our differences in the more civilized form of dialogue? It is a challenge we all face when we are wronged by someone. How well do we approach this challenge?
1 Peter 2: 20b-25
20 If you are patient when you suffer for doing what is good, this is a grace before God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his footsteps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When he was insulted, he returned no insult; when he suffered, he did not threaten; instead, he handed himself over to the one who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
Jesus tells us to live life to the full. This is why He has redeemed us – to give us this opportunity. Let us not allow the world’s empty promises of pleasure to distract us from the goal of true fulfillment. A Christian with a right focus will not fall prey to the lures of the world but will have eyes for the Kingdom of God. Let us pray that that is how we will live.
John 10: 1-10
1 “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. 2 But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. 5 But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” 6 Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. 7 So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. 10 A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
my reflections
think:How do I react to hostility?

God’s special verse/thought for me today________________

Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
My weekly time with God
Things to be grateful for from the past week
Things to ask God for in the coming week
Most important word God told me this week


Today’s Gospel is fully loaded. We can say much about it because it proposes much for our faith. Its final sentence, however, captures everything this Gospel wishes to put across to us. Jesus says, “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Jesus is not only the Good Shepherd who gives His life to His sheep; He is also the very Gate of the sheepfold through which one may enter to have fullness of life.
It is clear that those who enter through the gate of the sheepfold are not only the sheep but also the shepherds of the sheep. The truth is that the shepherds of the sheep, under normal circumstances, pass only through the gate, and nowhere else, and those who enter the sheepfold through some other passages are only thieves and marauders. Because the Gate of the sheepfold is Jesus, the fullness of life, only those who enter through Him can give life. Others who pass through another way do not give life to the sheep; they snatch life from the sheep instead.
When someone presents himself or herself to be a pastor, a shepherd, we must be very careful to examine where he or she is passing through. Is it through Jesus Christ, the Gate of the sheepfold, or through some other means? This should be an easy task for us to do because people cannot give what they do not have. If self-proclaimed shepherds do not come in the name of and through the power of Jesus, they cannot give Jesus. If they have not received fullness of life, never can they give it to others. If they do not pass through the Gate of the sheepfold, they may be anything except the true shepherds of the sheep. Worse, they can be devouring lions disguised as shepherds.
Beware! There are many false shepherds around. They come not to give us fullness of life. Instead, they suck all the life in us until they have had their fill. Fr. Bobby Titco
Reflection Question:
Do I follow a shepherd who is after the heart of God?
Lord Jesus, please do not allow me to be led astray by false shepherds. Do not allow me to lead others astray as well. Amen.
Pope Saint Martin I, martyr, pray for us.

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