4th Sunday of Easter

April 30, 2023

Today we celebrate the 4th Sunday of Easter. Traditionally the readings of this Sunday reflect the image of the Good Shepherd and this weekend is traditionally Good Shepherd Sunday. Today’s first reading continues describing the bold preaching of Peter to the people of Jerusalem. The result was that many converted and became followers. In today’s second reading, Peter encourages his listeners to endure hardship and suffering, following the example of Christ who showed us the way. He says, “For you had all gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.” We sometimes get lost and go astray as we face the realities of our weakness, but we can always return to the shepherd as we acknowledge these weaknesses in the Sacrament of His Divine Mercy. Today’s Gospel describes Jesus as the shepherd of His sheep. He leads His flock, calling them all each by name. His sheep listen to His voice and follow Him, because He is a ‘good’ shepherd. Some of those who listened to Him, the Pharisees, didn’t realize what He was saying. Jesus spells it out saying, “I am the gate. All who came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them.” He is quite blunt and His adversaries understood His message. Jesus says, “I came that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” On this Good Shepherd Sunday, perhaps we can assess how we have gone astray, listened to voices that have led us away from the truth, promised us things that lead us to death (sin), and rededicate ourselves to listening to the One voice that can bring us life with abundant joy. Alleluia!

We are now 1 month from the announcement that will change the landscape of our Archdiocese and reorganize all of our parishes into various new pastorates. After three years of meetings, planning, listening, and refining plans from the feedback parishes have made, we are in the final phase of All Things New. Our Archbishop is prayerfully discerning the plans we have all had a part in. I encourage all of us to pray for our Archbishop. He is our shepherd whom Christ has appointed to lead us to Him. He speaks with the voice of Christ and calls us to follow with faith and hope into a new ear of evangelization and discipleship. The plan Archbishop Rozanski will announce is meant to ensure the future of the Church in the 21st Century. Will it be challenging? I know it will be. Will it call for all of us to sacrifice and stretch our vision from what was to what can be? Definitely! Priests and faithful alike. Please pray for the Archbishop and for St. Luke the Evangelist as we await the announcement on Pentecost.

As Spring has arrived many of us will probably be cleaning out our closets. I draw your attention to the St. Vincent de Paul clothing box on the Ballfield parking lot. Our parish St. Vincent de Paul requested the box as an easy means for parishioners and neighbors to donate used clothing to help the poor. The box is emptied regularly. Did you know that our St. Vincent de Paul receives a donation from the general office based on the weight of the clothes in the box? These funds help our parish organization to provide assistance to the needy in our parish boundaries. So, time to look in those closets folks, and if you haven’t worn something in the past year or two, declutter, and help clothe the poor.

Finally today, we have begun our Annual Catholic Appeal, (ACA). Many have begun making pledges for this year’s campaign. Thank You. Our co-chairs, Dee Brockmann and Felice Nighbor will be in the main foyer again this weekend for you to make a pledge. This weekend we also welcome a guest speaker to Mass to share her story of how the ACA benefits her ministry.

God Bless! Happy Eastertide!

Please continue praying 3 Hail Marys. Fr. Pete