April 29th, 2012, Fourth Sunday of Easter
Discussion Questions for Reading 1In today's world, as well as in ancient times, innocent people are sometimes accused of wrongdoing and good deeds are sometimes met with criticism or blame. What examples can you think of from the news, from TV or movies, or from your own life? Why do you think these things happen? What does Peter's response to his accusers tell you about him? How has he changed since he denied that he knew Jesus when Jesus was under arrest?
In what ways can we show that we, like Peter, keep Jesus at the center of our lives?
Reading 1 Acts 4:8-12
Reading 1 ReflectionThis reading presents us with a scene from a courtroom drama. An innocent man has been accused of lying and misleading people. However, the truth is that he has cured a paralyzed man simply by praying for him in the name of Jesus Christ. The Jewish leaders refuse to believe him because they have rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
The defendants in the case are Peter and John. They courageously insist that Jesus is the Savior of the entire human race, Jews and Gentiles alike.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2What family resemblance’s do you share with your parents or grandparents? How have your parents and grandparents helped you to realize that you are a child of God? Name some of the ways you, your family, or your friends show that you are children of God.
At our Baptism, we rejected "Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness." What signs of the "father of sin" do you see in the world today? In what ways can your parish help people your age to reject the "prince of darkness"?
Reading 2 1 John 3:1-2
Reading 2 ReflectionOthers sometimes compare us to our parents by saying that we "look just like your father" or "act just like your mother." However, as this reading points out, we are all children of God. And one day our resemblance to God will be revealed. Meanwhile, the world may not recognize us for who we are because it has not recognized Jesus as the Son of God.
By remaining faithful to our Baptism, we show our resemblance to God. By treating all people as our brothers and sisters, we act like Jesus, our Brother.
What does your parish do for ecumenism and interfaith relations?
Discussion Questions for GospelIn ancient Israel, a good shepherd was admired for his courage, dedication, and ability to provide everything his flock required. Who do you think might be considered good shepherds in today's world? Why? In what ways do you see Jesus as the Good Shepherd?
How are the followers of Jesus called to "shepherd" others who may be lost or afraid, weak or without guidance?
Gospel John 10:11-18
Gospel ReflectionWhen Jesus wanted to describe himself, he did not compare himself to a magnificent king or a powerful ruler. He said, "I am the good shepherd." And the people of his time knew immediately that he was speaking of a humble caretaker of the flock that depended on him for survival. Some shepherds work only for pay and leave their sheep unprotected. The good shepherd lays down his life to save them. No one forces him to do so. He chooses to give his life for the sheep he knows by name and loves to the end.
The Good Shepherd looks forward to the day when all people will "be one flock." They will recognize his voice and be gathered into his fold.