Fourth Sunday of Easter - 12th May, 2019

Liturgical Reflection

Acts 13: 14, 43-52   Apocalypse 7: 9, 14-17   John 10; 27-30




As the Church gathers for worship in this Easter season we confidently rejoice in Jesus’ triumph over sin and death.  As we listen to the readings today we hear a message of confident hope.  The preaching of Paul and Barnabas is rejected by the Jewish community in Antioch, yes.  But the reading from the Apocalypse assures us that the Good News will triumph in the nations of the world, when those who have been faithful, even under persecution, assemble in worship before the throne of the lamb.

The responsorial psalm introduces the image of the shepherd who leads and protects his flock, the Church.  So we have two images of Christ Jesus.  He is the sacrificial Lamb who freely sacrificed his own life so that we may have life and have it to the full.  Risen from death and glorified by the Father, he continues to lead the flock of the faithful wherever they are in every age.  The use of *the perfect number, 24,000, to describe the worshippers before the Lamb in the New Jerusalem, points to the completeness of the redemption achieved by Christ.  No one is excluded, no one is beyond the reach of God’s saving love.

Together these two images of Christ Jesus lead us to the Gospel, which rings with divine confidence to enlighten and confirm our hope for the fulfilment of the promises God has made to his people.  John tells us that he has heard from the Lord, the Shepherd, ‘I will give them eternal life; they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me’.  In another context, the same Paul whose preaching was rejected in Antioch assured the Romans in his letter to them that: ‘Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

Sr Mary Britt OP