Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Sunday (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : White

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this Sunday, the fourth Sunday in the season of Easter marks the occasion of Good Shepherd Sunday, or also known as the Vocation Sunday. This Sunday is called as such because the Gospel reading was taken from the Gospel of St. John, in which the Lord referred to Himself as the Good Shepherd and we, the people of God as His sheep and flock. Through Him, our Good Shepherd, the Lord has called on all of us to follow Him and return to Him, to no longer be lost and separated from Him, but be reunited with Him and becoming once again part of that one flock of God in His Church.

In our first reading today, all of us heard from the Acts of the Apostles the works of two of the Apostles, St. Paul and St. Barnabas who were travelling to Antioch in Pisidia in Asia Minor, where they preached about the Lord and His truth in the synagogue. The two Apostles spoke to a large gathering of both Jewish people and the non-Jewish people, the Gentiles. But their efforts in attracting so many people especially the Gentiles caused some among the Jews to be jealous and hostile to their popularity. It was likely that those Jewish people mentioned had belonged to the Pharisees or at least those who were sympathetic of the position of the Pharisees and their opposition against Jesus.

Hence, as we heard, while the Apostles managed to gain great support and following even from among the Gentiles, who were happy to hear the Good News presented to them, but those people who refused to believe in them were offended and angry at the popularity that St. Paul and St. Barnabas managed to get, and considered them as a threat to the way of life and the beliefs of those who held and clung on to the traditions of the Jewish customs as promoted and preserved by the Pharisees and the elders. As such, they did whatever they could to oppose the two Apostles, persecuting them and evicting them from their region.

Yet, the Apostles, St. Paul, St. Barnabas and the Twelve Apostles led by St. Peter all continued to labour hard for the Lord and His Church, going forth to many places and spreading the Good News passed onto them as the shepherds of the Lord’s flock, the servants of the one and true Good Shepherd of all. They proclaimed the Lord’s truth to all the people, to the Jewish people and the Gentiles alike, and although they encountered many opposition and rejection from those who refused to believe in God and His truth, persecuted and having to endure arrest, prison, torture and even martyrdom, they continued to proclaim the word of God faithfully and many others did flock to follow the Lord through them.

In our second reading today, we heard of the vision of St. John the Apostle from the Book of Revelations that he wrote, detailing what he had seen in the series of visions he received at the island of Patmos during his exile there. St. John saw the vision of innumerable holy men and women from across all time and places, all gathered together to proclaim the Lord and glorify Him, to praise Him on His Throne, as St. John saw Him, the victorious Lamb of God, Who has won the ultimate victory over sin, evil and death, and by His sacrifice on the Cross, He has gathered all of us as our Good Shepherd, leading us all to the path towards eternal life.

What victory is it about, brothers and sisters in Christ? It is the great triumph that God had won for us over the forces of evil and sin. We have been corrupted by sin ever since the beginning of time, when we succumbed to the temptations of the devil and allowed sin to enter into our hearts. Because of that, we have been scattered throughout the world and fell into darkness, becoming lost from the Lord, our Good Shepherd. But what is important is that, God’s love for us far surpasses His disgust and anger for our sins. He loves us all beyond anything else, and He created us in the first place because He loved us all. If He did not love us at all, He would not even have created us or given us a chance at all.

Therefore, in coming upon us Himself, through His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Word Incarnate, the Lord came to us to show just how much He loved us all and how precious we truly are to Him. The Lord has come to gather us all from the far ends of the world, and to lead us all back to Himself just as He has long promised to us. And to this end, He has established His Church, and called us all to be part of that one flock that He has gathered together in His Name, and entrusted all of us to those whom He had called and dedicated to be shepherds modelled after Himself, the Good Shepherd.

St. Paul, St. Barnabas, the other Apostles and many other holy men and women of God, the saints all showed us what they had done in following the examples set by the Good Shepherd in helping many more lost souls, the lost sheep of the Lord to return to Him. Just as the Lord Himself also said in another occasion, that the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep, hence, He Who laid down His own life for our salvation inspired His own servants, like St. Paul, St. Barnabas and many more to be willing to lay down their lives and to suffer for the sake of the Lord and His people. Through their courage and determination, countless souls had been saved, and many had been brought to reconciliation with God.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we commemorate this Good Shepherd Sunday, what we have just discussed earlier highlighted why we also mark the occasion of Vocation Sunday today. That is because while we remember the Lord, our Good Shepherd in all that He had done for us, we must not forget that He has called all of us to follow Him, and for all of us to embrace our respective calling in life and dedicate ourselves, in whichever capacity and ability we are able to commit, to embrace a good Christian vocation in life. And we must not think or misunderstand that vocation means only vocations to priesthood only.

That is because there are many vocations for us as Christians in the Church. Most prominent indeed are those whom God had called to serve Him wholeheartedly and completely as those who embrace the call to the priesthood as well as religious life. They have been called to serve the Lord and His people, following in the footsteps of the Apostles, in continuing their works of evangelisation and in ministering to the people of God. However, this does not mean that all the others who have not followed this same path then do not have any role to play in the works of the evangelisation or as part in the Lord’s mission entrusted to His Church.

On the contrary, as members of God’s Church, each and every one of us have very important roles to play, and the laity have immense role that all of them have to play and take part in faithfully and with commitment in order to make sure that the Church’s efforts and its missions will be successful. The responsibility for evangelisation and spreading the Good News of God is not that of the priests and religious, or missionaries alone. All the faithful people of God share in the same mission, inspired by the Good Shepherd, Our Lord’s own examples, His love and dedication for us, His lost sheep, in gathering all of them to His loving embrace.

That is why, all of us have to live our lives worthily of the Lord and doing whatever we can to contribute to the mission of the Church in reaching out to the lost sheep of the Lord’s flock, all those who have not yet known the Lord and His salvation, and all those who have fallen astray in the path towards God. Each one of us can help one another, and even the priests and missionaries need the constant support from every members of the Church so that they may be able to do their works effectively. It is indeed not easy to be priests, especially in our world today, and we need to support the priests, our shepherds, that they may be inspired to follow the path of their predecessors, the Apostles and their successors, and the Lord Himself, the Good Shepherd.

That is why all of us have to pray for our priests, for more vocations to the priesthood. But at the same time, should any of us are called to the priesthood, then we should not ignore that call either. A most common thing in the Church is that we do not mind if others are called to the priesthood, but when some parents encounter the fact that it is their own children who are called to the priesthood, or religious life, or other vocations that are not according to what they wanted, they became defensive or even putting objections to that vocation or desire of their own children. It is truly hypocritical if we want others to embrace their vocation but not those in our own families. Yet, sadly, this is one of the main reason why it is truly difficult for some to embrace their vocation to priesthood and religious life.

Now, at the same time, we must also not forget to reflect on our vocation as married people, as those who have been called to a life in matrimonial bond and in growing up faithful Christian families. As mentioned, that is also a very important vocation, and one that cannot be ignored. For faithful and committed Christian families are truly the bedrock of the Church, and the first places where our children will learn about the faith. If our Christian families are not founded upon firm faith and the strong desire to serve and follow God, then sooner or later, not only that we may lose a lot of our children to indifference to their faith, to apostasy and more, but the whole entire Church community will also be negatively affected.

There are also of course those among us called to other purposes in life, even those who are called to remain single and devote themselves to the Lord. Many of them are not even members of any religious orders, but they dedicated themselves to a particular purpose or some missions to do things for the good of others, and to advance the cause of the Lord, to proclaim His Good News and more. Those are also wonderful vocations that each one of us, should we be called, have to embrace as well. We are all called to different purposes in life and we really should do our best to follow Him, and commit ourselves to God as best as we can.

Therefore, brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Good Shepherd and Vocation Sunday, let us ask the Lord, our Good Shepherd, to guide us all and to give us the strength and courage so that we all can be faithful shepherds, role models and examples for one another in faith. Let our actions, words and deeds be inspiration at all times, and let more and more people come to believe in God through us. May each one of us devote more of our time and effort to follow our vocations in life, and may God, our loving Good Shepherd be with us always, now and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Sunday (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

John 10 : 27-30

At that time, Jesus said to the people, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them; they follow Me and I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, and no one will ever steal them from Me. What My Father has given Me, is greater than all things else. To snatch it out of the Father’s hand, no one is able! I and the Father are One.”

Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Sunday (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Revelations 7 : 9, 14b-17

After this, I saw a great crowd, impossible to count, from every nation, race, people and tongue, standing before the Throne, and the Lamb, clothed in white, with palm branches in their hands.

The elder replied, “They, are those who have come out of the great persecution; they have washed, and made their clothes white, in the Blood of the Lamb. This is why they stand before the Throne of God, and serve Him, day and night, in His sanctuary.”

“He, Who sits on the throne, will spread His tent over them. Never again, will they suffer hunger or thirst, or be burnt by the sun, or any scorching wind. For the Lamb, near the Throne, will be their Shepherd, and He will bring them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away their tears.”

Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Sunday (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 99 : 2, 3, 5

Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God; He created us and we are His people, the sheep of His fold.

For the Lord is good; His love lasts forever and His faithfulness through all generations.

Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday and Vocation Sunday (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : White

Acts 13 : 14, 43-52

Paul and his companions went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day they entered the synagogue and sat down. After that, when the assembly broke up, many Jews and devout God-fearing people followed them, and to these, they spoke, urging them to hold fast to the grace of God.

The following Sabbath almost the entire city gathered to listen to Paul, who spoke a fairly long time about the Lord. But the presence of such a crowd made the Jews jealous. So they began to oppose, with insults, whatever Paul said.

Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out firmly, saying, “It was necessary, that God’s word be first proclaimed to you, but since you now reject it, and judge yourselves to be unworthy of eternal life, we turn to non-Jewish people. For thus we were commanded by the Lord : I have set you as a light to the pagan nations, so that you may bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Those who were not Jews rejoiced, when they heard this, and praised the message of the Lord; and all those, destined for everlasting life, believed in it. Thus the word spread, throughout the whole region. Some of the Jews, however, incited God-fearing women of the upper class, and the leading men of the city, as well, and stirred up an intense persecution against Paul and Barnabas.

Finally, they had them expelled from their region. The Apostles shook the dust from their feet, in protest against this people, and went to Iconium, leaving; the disciples, filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Offertory, Secret Prayer of the Priest, Communion and Post-Communion Prayer

Liturgical Colour : White

Offertory

Psalm 145 : 2


Lauda, anima mea, Dominum : laudabo Dominum in vita mea : psallam Deo meo, quamdiu ero, Alleluja.

English translation


Praise the Lord, o my soul, in my life I will praise the Lord. I will sing to my God as long as I shall be. Alleluia.

Secret Prayer of the Priest


His nobis, Domine, mysteriis conferatur, quo, terrena desideria mitigantes, discamus amare caelestia. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation


By these mysteries, o Lord, may grace be given to us so that, by chastening our earthly desires, we may learn to love heavenly things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Communion

John 16 : 16


Modicum, et non videbitis me, Alleluja : iterum modicum, et videbitis me, quia vado ad Patrem, Alleluja, Alleluja.

English translation


A little while, and now you shall not see Me, Alleluia. And again a little while, and you shall see Me, because I go to the Father. Alleluia, Alleluia.

Post-Communion Prayer

Sacramenta quae sumpsimus, quaesumus, Domine, et spiritualibus nos instaurent alimentis, et corporalibus tueantur auxiliis. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation


May the sacrament we have received, o Lord, we beseech You, both restore us with its spiritual nourishment and protect us with its help for our bodies. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Holy Gospel

Liturgical Colour : White

Sequentia Sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem – Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to St. John


John 16 : 16-22


In illo tempore : Dixit Jesus discipulis Suis : Modicum, et jam non videbitis me : et iterum modicum, et videbitis me : quia vado ad Patrem. Dixerunt ergo ex discipulis ejus ad invicem : Quid est hoc, quod dicit nobis : Modicum, et non videbitis me : et iterum modicum, et videbitis me, et quia vado ad Patrem? Dicebant ergo : Quid est hoc, quod dicit : Modicum? Nescimus, quid loquitur.

Cognovit autem Jesus, quia volebant eum interrogare, et dixit eis : De hoc quaeritis inter vos, quia dixi : Modicum, et non videbitis me : et iterum modicum, et videbitis me. Amen, amen, dico vobis : quia plorabitis et flebitis vos, mundus autem gaudebit : vos autem contristabimini, sed tristitia vestra vertetur in gaudium.

Mulier cum parit, tristitiam habet, quia venit hora ejus : cum autem pepererit puerum, jam non meminit pressurae propter gaudium, quia natus est homo in mundum. Et vos igitur nunc quidem tristitiam habetis, iterum autem videbo vos, et gaudebit cor vestrum : et gaudium vestrum nemo tollet a vobis.

English translation


At that time, Jesus said to His disciples, “A little while, and now you shall not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me, because I go to the Father.” Then some of His disciples said to one another, “What is this that He said to us, ‘A little while and you shall not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me, and because I go to the Father?'” They said therefore, “What is this that He said, ‘A little while?’ We do not know what He spoke about.”

And Jesus knew that they had a mind to ask Him, and He said to them, “Of this do you inquire among yourselves because I said, ‘A little while and you shall not see Me, and again a little while, and you shall see Me? Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice, and you shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.

A woman when she is in labour had sorrow, because her hour has come, but when she had brought forth the child, she did not remember anymore the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. So you also now indeed have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man shall take from you.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Alleluia

Liturgical Colour : White

Psalm 110 : 9 and Luke 24 : 46


Alleluja, Alleluja.

Response : Redemptionem misit Dominus populo suo.

Alleluja.

Response : Oportebat pati Christum, et resurgere a mortuis : et ita intrare in gloriam suam. Alleluja.

English translation


Alleluia, Alleluia.

Response : The Lord had sent redemption to His people.

Alleluia.

Response : It behooved Christ to suffer these things, and so to enter into His glory. Alleluia.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Epistle

Liturgical Colour : White

Lectio Epistolae Beati Petri Apostoli – Lesson from the Epistle of Blessed Peter the Apostle


1 Peter 2 : 11-19


Carissimi : Obsecro vos tamquam advenas et peregrinos abstinere vos a carnalibus desideriis, quae militant adversus animam, conversationem vestram inter gentes habentes bonam : ut in eo, quod detrectant de vobis tamquam de malefactoribus, ex bonis operibus vos considerantes, glorificent Deum in die visitationis.

Subjecti igitur estote omni humanae creaturae propter Deum : sive regi, quasi praecellenti : sive ducibus, tamquam ab eo missis ad vindictam malefactorum, laudem vero bonorum : quia sic est voluntas Dei, ut benefacientes obmutescere faciatis imprudentium hominum ignorantiam : quasi liberi, et non quasi velamen habentes malitiae libertatem, sed sicut servi Dei.
Omnes honorate : fraternitatem diligite : Deum timete : regem honorificate. Servi, subditi estote in omni timore dominis, non tantum bonis et modestis, sed etiam dyscolis. Haec est enim gratia : in Christo Jesu, Domino nostro.

English translation


Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul, having your conversation good among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation.

May you all be subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake, whether it is to king as excelling, or to governors as sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good, for so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God.

Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is worthy of thanksgiving in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Usus Antiquior) Third Sunday after Easter (II Classis) – Sunday, 8 May 2022 : Introit and Collect

Liturgical Colour : White

Introit

Psalm 65 : 1-2, 3


Jubilate Deo, omnis terra, Alleluja : psalmum dicite Nomini ejus, Alleluja : date gloriam laudi ejus, Alleluja, Alleluja, Alleluja.

Dicite Deo, quam terribilia sunt opera Tua, Domine! In multitudine virtutis Tuae mentientur Tibi inimici Tui.

Response : Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper : et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation


Shout with joy to God, all the earth, Alleluia. Sing all of you a psalm to His Name, Alleluia. Give glory to His praise, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.

Say unto God, how terrible are Your works, o Lord! In the multitude of Your strength Your enemies shall lie to You.

Response : Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Collect

Deus, qui errantibus, ut in viam possint redire justitiae, veritatis Tuae lumen ostendis : da cunctis, qui christiana professione censentur, et illa respuere, quae huic inimica sunt nomini; et ea, quae sunt apta, sectari. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium Tuum, qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

English translation


O God, You who showed the light of Your truth to those who went astray, that they may be able to return to the path of justice, grant unto all who profess themselves and are reckoned Christians, both to reject the things that are opposed to that name and to follow after the things that befit it. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who with You lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.