Mass Readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday)
- First Reading – Acts 2:14A, 36-41: Peter stands up with the eleven apostles and addresses the crowd, declaring that the events they are witnessing are the fulfillment of prophecy. Then he preaches about Jesus Christ, calling on the crowd to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, leading to the conversion and baptism of about three thousand people.
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 23: The psalm describes God as a caring and protective shepherd who provides for all the needs of his sheep, including rest, refreshment, guidance, and courage in times of trouble. The psalmist speaks of the abundance and blessings that come from following God, and expresses confidence in God's presence and goodness throughout his life, both now and in the future.
- Second Reading – 1 Peter 2:20b-25: Peter exhorts Christians to endure suffering patiently, even when it is unjust, because Christ himself suffered for their sake and left them an example to follow. Peter emphasizes that Christ's suffering was redemptive, and that through his wounds, believers are healed and brought back to God, who is like a shepherd caring for his sheep.
- Gospel - John 10:1-10: Jesus uses the metaphor of a shepherd and his sheep to describe his relationship with his followers. He claims to be the gate for the sheep and the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for them, contrasting himself with those who are thieves and robbers, who come only to steal and destroy.
Themes for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday)
The readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday) remind us that Jesus Christ leads us through the gate of salvation. In the first reading Peter calls all to conversion. The psalm reminds us that God is always caring for us as a shepherd cares for his sheep. The second reading tells us that when we stray, we can return to the Lord. And in the gospel Jesus promises to lead his people to safety and warns us to be cautious about who we follow.
- Jesus as the Good Shepherd: This image is meant to evoke the idea of a shepherd who knows his sheep by name and is willing to lay down his life for them. Jesus says that his sheep hear his voice and follow him, and that he knows them and they know him. This theme emphasizes Jesus' love for his followers and his willingness to protect and guide them through life.
- Relationship between Jesus and his followers: This theme is closely related to the first one, as it also focuses on the idea of Jesus' followers recognizing his voice and following him. The Gospel reading for this Sunday emphasizes the intimate relationship between Jesus and his sheep, and the idea that they are able to recognize and trust him because of their close connection. This theme emphasizes the importance of personal relationship with Jesus for those who follow him.
- The Church as a flock of sheep: This theme builds on the idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd and his followers as his sheep. It emphasizes the idea that the Church is a community of believers who are led and guided by Christ. The metaphor of the sheep and shepherd is meant to evoke a sense of care and protection, as well as a shared sense of purpose and belonging among the members of the Church.
- Promise of eternal life and assurance of protection and care: This theme is closely tied to the idea of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. It emphasizes the idea that believers can trust in Jesus to protect and care for them, even in the face of danger or hardship. The promise of eternal life is also a key aspect of this theme, as it emphasizes the hope that believers have in Christ beyond this life. This theme highlights the sense of security and peace that comes from trusting in Jesus as one's shepherd and protector.
See the Homilies and Reflections section and the More Thoughts section for further expansion on these readings and some reflection questions for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday).
Resources for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday)
This lesson plan will help youth understand that we need to put some effort into listening to God. We won’t be able to hear him if there are a lot of distractions in our lives. Youth will also learn how the Examen can be used to listen to God.
This Good Shepherd maze puzzle is a fun and engaging way for children to learn about the Good Shepherd, while also developing their problem-solving skills. Thinking about the Good Shepherd is a way to reflect on the love and care that God has for His people. We can remember that we are not alone in this world, but are under the watchful care of a loving and protective shepherd.
Life is full of ups and downs, and we all face challenges and difficulties along the way. But as believers, we can find comfort and hope in God’s love and care. This beautiful prayer of peace and comfort based on Psalm 23 reminds us of God’s role as our shepherd, and our own identity as beloved sheep under his watchful eye.
This game helps youth understand the importance of listening. Each group of sheep must listen to their shepherd’s voice and follow it. It also goes well with a lesson on sticking together in community. This is a fun game for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A
Homilies and Reflections for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday)
A video homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A from Bishop Robert Barron. "Friends, for this fourth Sunday of Easter, we have a magnificent first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It’s one of Peter’s great kerygmatic speeches—the kerygma means the basic proclamation of the faith—and a master class in evangelization. Christianity has become so commonplace for so many of us; we think being a Christian just means being a nice person. But listen now as this chief of the Apostles, this friend of Jesus, begins to preach with fire. This is the energy that should belong across the ages to Christian evangelical preaching!"
In this week’s Encountering the Word video, Jeff Cavins reflects on the readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A.
A homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday) from Fr. Richard Rohr. We might think that to belong to the Christian religion is to have entered the gate. The clue is in the second reading from 1 Peter though. What does most people in is suffering. We must follow Jesus our shepherd in his example of showing us how to let go of pain.
A homily for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday) from Bishop Robert Barron. Our second reading, which is from the first letter of Peter, a beautiful text that we consult only rarely in the course of the liturgical calendar. It seems eminently clear from the totality of this letter that it was written to a suffering, probably persecuted, Church.
A reflection for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A from Scott Hahn. Easter’s empty tomb is a call to conversion. By this tomb, we should know for certain that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as Peter preaches in today’s First Reading.
More Thoughts for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday)
Jesus the Good Shepherd
The readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A invites us to reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock. This image reminds us that Jesus is intimately involved in our lives, and that he knows us and loves us individually. It also reminds us that we are called to follow him, and to trust in his guidance and protection.
As we reflect on this image of the Good Shepherd, we are invited to consider the quality of our own relationship with Jesus. Do we recognize his voice and follow him? Do we trust in his care and protection, even in the face of difficulty or uncertainty? Are we willing to let him guide us on the path he has set for us?
Protection and Perseverance
The Good Shepherd offers us protection from those who would lead us astray. He guides us to the gates of heaven. But we must hear his voice and follow. This involves repentance and a commitment to do what he asks. And we will probably encounter some suffering along the way.
We are invited to reflect on the promise of eternal life, which is a key aspect of the readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A. As believers, we have the hope of sharing in the resurrection of Christ, and of being united with him forever. This hope gives us strength and courage to face the challenges of life, knowing that we are not alone and that our ultimate destination is with Christ in heaven.
A Community of Believers
At the same time, we are reminded that we are not alone in our journey. We are part of a larger community of believers, the Church, which is led and guided by Christ himself. As members of this community, we are called to support and care for one another, just as the Good Shepherd cares for his sheep.
We are strengthened for this task through baptism and by the Holy Spirit. Our Christian community also supports us. And we can find comfort in our Good Shepherd who suffered for us. Let us remember as we reflect on the readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A.
Reflection Questions for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday)
- How well do I recognize the voice of Jesus as the Good Shepherd? Do I take the time to listen for his guidance in my life?
- In what ways do I rely on the protection and guidance of the Good Shepherd? How can I deepen my trust in him?
- What does it mean to me to be part of a community of believers, led and guided by Christ himself? How can I support and care for my fellow believers in the Church?
- What suffering or difficulties have I encountered on my journey of faith? How have these experiences helped me to grow closer to the Good Shepherd?
- How does the promise of eternal life and the hope of salvation give me strength and courage to face the challenges of life? How can I share this hope with others?
- What changes in my life might I need to make in order to more fully follow the path of the Good Shepherd? What help or resources might I need to make these changes?
Quotes and Social Media Graphics for the 4th Sunday of Easter Year A (Good Shepherd Sunday)
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.