- Sunday, 22 April 2018 -
Fourth Sunday of Easter
Readings of day

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 10:11-18.

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."
Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Basil of Seleucia
The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” Both Pilate and the Jews saw this shepherd led to the cross for his sheep as the prophets had clearly foretold long before his Passion: “Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers” (Is 53:7). He did not refuse death, he did not flee judgement, and he did not repulse those crucifying him. He did not undergo the Passion: he willed it for the sake of his sheep: “I have power to lay down my life,” he said, “and the power to take it up again.” He destroyed suffering with the suffering of the Passion, death with his death. With his grave he opened graves. He shook the dwelling of the dead and made its bolts spring open. Graves are sealed and the prison shut so long as the Shepherd does not descend into death to preach liberation to those of his sheep who are asleep (cf 1Pt 3:19). We see him in the dwelling of the dead: he gives the command to come out; even there we see him renew the call to life. “The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep”: this is how he seeks the love of his sheep. Whoever loves Christ is the one who hears his voice.

Homily 26, on the Good Shepherd; PG 85, 299