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Scripture reflection: The Good Shepherd knows us and we know him

 |  12 April 2018

Lectionary reading

First Reading: Acts 4:8-12.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 117(118):1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29.

Second reading: 1 John 3:1-2.

Gospel: John 10:11-18.

Link to readings.

Introduction

Today’s First Reading is taken from Peter’s speech to the Council in Jerusalem, following his and John’s arrest. In it, Peter bears witness to the power of the resurrected Christ by which a man lame from birth was brought back to health. Peter quotes from today’s Psalm 117 (118) to reinforce the point that only by the name of Jesus, the keystone, is salvation possible.

The Second Reading shows St John encouraging the Christian communities of modern-day Turkey by sharing his own experiences of what he has seen and heard.That the world cannot always understand must not shake our confidence in the love that God has ‘lavished upon us’.

This love is given tangible form in the image of Christ, as presented to us each year in the Gospel of ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’. Not only are we are led to safety, fed, given rest, watched over and brought back if found to be in danger, we are also known, loved and died for.

This week in my prayer, I may like to ask for the grace to know more fully my Risen Lord, the Good Shepherd, who knows me and has the greatest care and compassion for me.

Second Reading

1 John 3:1-2.

I begin this time of prayer gently.

I take my time to still myself, ponder what grace I may need today, and gradually become aware of myself as a child of God.

I make a slow sign of the cross.

If I can, I approach this wonderful reading with joy. As I read, slowly, I notice where I am drawn.

What touches me in this text? What moves me?

I stay there, allowing the words or a phrase to have an effect on me.

What is this love that I am called to think on?

Can I recall an experience of the lavishness of God’s love,

perhaps through some event or encounter, maybe in the distant past ... maybe this week? I ponder …

Perhaps the love I have shown someone else has been the way they have come to realise the love of God for them.

I give thanks for this …

As I ponder prayerfully, I may begin to recall times when I have experienced a sense of rejection, as Jesus himself experienced rejection.

I bring this to the Lord, knowing I am called to have a share in every aspect of his life.

As I come to the end of my prayer, I try to approach the future with a sense of trust and hope. Though I may not know what tomorrow will bring, I can take comfort in the glorious promise:

We shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is’. Glory be to the Father ...

Gospel

John 10:11–18

I take some moments to become aware of how I am as I approach this time of prayer.

As I begin to read this most famous of Gospel passages, I let myself settle, and imagine Jesus the Good Shepherd watching over me with attentive kindness.

I read slowly, stopping frequently to let its words or images move me. What do I notice?

Maybe the Good Shepherd giving his life for his sheep?

Perhaps his voice? The sheep listen to this. What does it sound like? I pause to listen; to go deeper …

Jesus is distinguishing himself from the ‘hired hands’ – he knows his own

relationship to the sheep is different from the others. What is his relationship with me? And mine to him?

What is it like to ponder that I am his, and he always acts out of love?

I am known by Jesus in the same way that Jesus himself knows the Father, and the Father knows Jesus. How does this make me feel?

I end my prayer by talking with Jesus from the heart.

Maybe I feel drawn to ask him to help me trust him ever more completely, and to accept that I am truly known and loved by him.

Perhaps I also sense a desire to do all I can to cultivate the unity of one flock under one Shepherd.

Our Father

 

Prepared by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham

 

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