St. Rita Roman Catholic Church
1008 Maple Dr.
Webster, NY 14580
Weekend Masses: Saturday- 5:00pm
Sunday- 7:30am; 9:00am (children's liturgy); 10:30am
Daily Mass is at 8:15am on Monday, Tuesday,
Thursday, and Friday (no Mass on Wednesday)
Reconciliation: Saturday from 3:30-4:30pm
Office Hours: M-Th 9am to 4:30pm; Fri 9-12:00pm

The Fourth Sunday of Easter

In the hope that you will enter more fully into the Mass

I AM the Good Shepherd 

The fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday and also Vocation Sunday. It is an opportunity for us to ponder the great love the Lord has for us and the special relationship we have with him and with the Father through him.

Our first reading (Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12) is a continuation of the events following the healing of the cripple at the temple gate by Peter and John (Acts 3). Now they have been brought before the chief priests and questioned. Peter speaks boldly with the authority given him by Jesus. What he tells them, they do not want to hear.

Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said: "Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved."

In our Gospel reading (John 10:11-18), Jesus describes himself as the Good Shepherd. Unlike the hired man, who runs away when the wolf comes because he has no "skin in the game", so to speak. Jesus has more than skin, he has his whole body and life in the game. The relationship between sheep and shepherd has always been a great metaphor for describing our relationship with our Lord. Notice the contrast between the wolf (Satin, the great scatterer) and the Shepherd (Jesus, the great gatherer). Whom do we follow?

Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father." 

In our Epistle reading (1 John 3:1-2), St. John reminds us of our special relationship with the Father through Jesus. When the fullness of time is revealed, we know we shall be like God for we shall see him as he is. 

Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 

All of our readings today are about relationship - with Jesus and with our Father. Our first reading tells us it is through Jesus alone that we find salvation. He is the cornerstone of our lives. Our Epistle reminds us that we are God's children, which means God is our Father. Our Gospel reading describes Jesus as our Good Shepherd. He knows us and we know his voice and we follow him. He lays down his life for us. Relationships are two-way propositions. It is we who should act like children of God. It would be good to remember that we also have "skin in the game".  
  • Click HERE to read and reflect on the full readings for Sunday, April 22