05.22.18 – 4th Sunday of Easter

Welcome Back to Banquet of the Word!

Join us every week for background on this Sunday’s readings. 
We want to help everyone in “pew-land” get more out of mass.

Fun Facts
-We are in the Easter season; it’s 50 days. Lent is 40 days. Our joy is greater than our sorrow. Light trumps dark. Life trumps death.
– No more old testament readings during Easter! In year B, 1st reading is from ACTS, 2nd reading is from 1 JOHN, and our gospel is from JOHN or MARK.


Acts 4: 8-12
(The 1st Reading during Easter is from Acts of the Apostles.)

Today in Acts, Peter is giving another speech to the Jewish audience. He’s just healed a crippled man – in the name of Jesus – not by his own hands or will. The crowds still don’t believe Jesus can act through other people. He says to them, “You should all know this! It was in the name of Jesus that cripple was healed. Not me.” He goes on. “The stone you all rejected…Jesus? HE IS THE CORNERSTONE. He is the foundation upon which all life, all salvation, all mercy is built. No one else brings us salvation. Just Him.” I’m paraphrasing. Here’s what Peter actually said:
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.”

Psalm 118:The stone rejected by the builders has become the cornerstone.
(The Psalm is a “response” to what we heard in the 1st ReadinG)

A familiar psalm below echoes the reading above.

 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in princes.

I will give thanks to you, for you have answered me
and have been my savior.
The stone which the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the LORD has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.

1 John 3: 1-2
(The 2nd reading in Year B is from 1 John. It
 speaks to how the early church was built after Christ’s death and resurrection).

In this reading from Saint John, the first word of the reading is SEE. We must see with our eyes, but also with our hearts – what Christ can do in our lives through his LOVE. We know by the end of the reading that it is through US that others SEE and learn about Christ and his healing ways, his powerful love. How can we help others say when they interact with us – “Yes… I SEE!”

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.

John 10: 11-18
(The Gospel is the highest point of the Liturgy of the Word. That’s why we stand.

We are about to hear from and be instructed by Christ Himself.)

Today’s gospel is a familiar story about sheep and shepherds. Remember psalm 23; “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…” This is old testament. We see this simple analogy return in the gospel today, showing that we have come full circle, that God’s covenant began in the NEW testament and is fulfilled now in the new. It is easy to see how strong the shepherd is in this story – he doesn’t back away or run away as the hired hand does.
No – he is devoted entirely to the sheep. He never leaves them. He loves them all as his own. He KNOWS them. They KNOW him. They follow him when he calls, they know his voice. And at the end, he reminds us that on the cross? He wasn’t killed. His life wasn’t taken from him without him wanting to give it. He laid it down freely. For us. To save us. To save his sheep.
Do we know his voice? Do we hear it? Where has he spoken to us this past week? Are we following him? How so?
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.”

Author: Cindy Skalicky

Background: While enrolled in coursework at the Denver Catholic Biblical School (CBS), I developed a passion for scripture. Prior to CBS, I knew so little about the bible. I was in a complete "fog", unable to see what I heard at mass or make any connections (even though I have been a lector for 20 years). The climax of every Mass is the banquet of the Eucharist. But before that, we attend the banquet of the Word - a "4-course meal" that includes the 1st Reading, Responsorial Psalm, 2nd Reading, and Gospel. At this "Banquet of the Word", we encounter Christ through His Word before we meet Him at the Eucharistic table. Increasing my knowledge of scripture has brought me out of the fog and into the light. I invite you to visit weekly. If you have limited scriptural knowledge, Be Not Afraid. Scripture is God's voice; in It, He speaks to you personally. Believe me, I know from experience how intimidating the Bible can be - in its length, the numerous styles in which it's written, and the messages therein. This is why I find it works well to explore scripture through the Sunday readings, which cover Old Testament, Wisdom Literature, the Pastoral Letters, and the Gospels. Join me on this journey, one week at a time.

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