Psalm 42: 2- 3, 43:3, 4
“I am the gate.” And to emphasize it even more Jesus says it a second time – “I am the gate.” So what was so important that Jesus had to say it twice? Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees after they refused to allow a man he just healed from blindness to enter a synagogue. Jesus admonishes them as not being true shepherds of the flock. Instead, it is he who is the true shepherd. So, to explain he uses a “figure of speech” or parable involving a shepherd and his sheep. In Jesus’ time, shepherds spent day and night tending to the needs of their sheep. They assured their access to food and water, and just as importantly, they protected them from the dangers of predators and thieves. Sheep were valuable commodities and the shepherds treated them so. In protecting them, shepherds would place their flock into a sheepfold at night. A sheepfold was a circular enclosure constructed of a low stone wall possibly with thorns on top to not only keep the sheep within, but to keep danger out. The only legitimate way for the sheep to enter or exit was through “the gate,” a small opening in the sheepfold where the shepherd would sit or lie and sleep.
Holiness: A Path Travelled Together
The Pallottine Charism - A Prophetic voice of a New era
St. Vincent Pallotti, “Prophet to the Catholic Church”, “an Innovator and Saint of a new era”. Indeed, his prophetic voice which gives equal space for everyone in the Church to be Apostles according to one’s state and condition of life is really amazing. I am deeply inspired and inflamed by his charism of “rekindling charity and reviving faith” in the Church as an Indian in a Church marked by traditional practices, perceived as placing particular emphasis on hierarchy, traditions and popular saints. This led me to experience much confusion in the initial stages of my Religious life, and a sense of the Pallottine charism being clouded in my mind. Involvement in various UAC gatherings inspired me to deepen my studies regarding St. Vincent Pallotti’s life and charism, and involvement in various Pallottine ministries lifted my gaze out to the deep, to the vast sea of Pallottine spirituality.
The UISG XXI Plenary Assembly counted approximately 850 Superiors General of Congregations of Women Religious from 80 countries, united in Rome from 6 -10 May to explore the Plenary theme: “Sowers of Prophetic Hope”.
“This is what we women religious are called to be today: Sowers of hope” - said in her welcome speech UISG President, Sr. Carmen Sammut, msol. “As Superiors we need to ask ourselves how we nurture this hope, above all when we feel that our resources and strength are diminishing. What are the signs of hope that we are gathering in our congregations? Are our intercultural communities perhaps signs of hope in a world of division and war? How are we signs of hope for the many women and children who are suffering?”
In the gospel reading Jesus identifies himself as the shepherd: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). His Jewish listeners must have gasped in shock to hear him say that. This is because, for Jews, the shepherd of the flock of Israel is none other than the Lord God himself (Psalm 23:1). Jesus went on to make explicit what is implied in his claim to be the shepherd of the God’s flock when he said, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30). That the Father sent Jesus and delegated him with full authority to act in His name is only half of the story. The other half of the story is that Jesus in turn delegated his chosen disciples to act with full authority in his name. We see this in the first farewell ceremony with his disciples as recorded by John. He commissions and delegates his disciples in these words:
Acts 9:31-42; Psalm 116:12-13, 14-15, 16-17; John 6:60-69
“YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE”
What words does/is God speaking to you Today? Are they words of mercy, of healing, of God’s goodness, of your goodness. What are they? The psalmist speaks of “all the good he (God) has done for me.” Some of us just wake up in the morning and are able to say, “thanks, Lord, I am awake and alive and it’s a new day.”
Acts 9:1-20; John 6:52-59
How often has someone said to you, “You’re as blind as a bat,” and no reference to your eyes was intended? The reference is not to outside sight but to inside sight or insight. When we say “I see” in response to an explanation, we never mean we see something with our eyes; we mean we understand the explanation. Visual seeing is frequently a metaphor for understanding, not only in our culture but also in the Hebrew culture in which the Bible was written.
Acts 8:26-40; John 6:44-51
I often ask myself how I came to believe in the God of the Bible and am grateful for many who shared their faith with me: individuals in my family, my home parish, and elsewhere. Their example helped me to understand what faith is about and to commit myself to this faith. Every one of us has a unique journey to faith but today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles highlights four foundational aspects of coming to believe: (1) God’s calling, (2) listening, (3) desire to understand, and (4) concern for others.
Acts 8:1b-8; John 6:35-40
After just a few minutes of reflection on today's readings, I realized that each of them put emphasis on ideas that could be expressed with words beginning with the letter P -- words like "persecution" and "perseverance." Quite quickly a flood of other "P" words came to mind: patience, and prayer and praise, proclamation and possession and petition. Even in the phrase from Acts, "crippled people," the letter stands out. And all of these words are as relevant today as they were 2000 years ago. Around the world there are those who are persecuted as the early Christians were persecuted, because of their race, their religion, their ethnicity, their ideas or poverty. Our patience is tested by intractable wars, and by violence in our cities and towns, by sickness and natural disaster. On a positive note, the glorious colors, smells and sounds of spring are prompting our praise of the Creator of all the natural wonders. Whether we suffer or celebrate, we have reasons for prayer.
People can be so blind. They can’t see what’s right in front of them. In the first reading Stephen chastises the people because they had the right information, they were told by prophets and angels but they wouldn’t believe it. They denied the prophecies, they put the prophets to death, and when Stephen reminds them that those prophecies came true – they were told the truth but wouldn’t accept and acknowledge it – they get so angry at him that they stone him to death. I suppose he should have seen it coming, given their past history with prophecy. Plus, people don’t like to be told they’re wrong or have their mistakes shown to them. But then that just perpetuates the blindness. It turns out that Stephen had it right too, and the people he was trying to help kept getting it wrong.
1 Cor 15:1-8; John 14:6-14
The Gospel reading features Philip’s final appearance in the Gospel account. It happens during the long account of the Last Supper which we find in John and where Jesus speaks at length to his disciples. They must have been in somewhat of a confused state, knowing that the enemies of Jesus were practically outside the door waiting to destroy him. There were still many parts of Jesus’ teaching that they did not understand.