Points to Ponder

Weekly thoughts on the Sunday Gospel, readings or a topic...


seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – John 10:11-18
1. Our relationship with those ‘in charge’ of us changes when we sense that not only are they in charge, but they care. Remember the difference that made for you as a child, and give thanks for the caring adults who were part of your life.
2. The good shepherd ‘lays down his life for the sheep’. When has your care for another led you to ‘lay down your life’ for that person, e.g. as a friend, parent, spouse, son or daughter? When have you known another to do this for you?
3. Jesus speaks of the freedom of the Good Shepherd in laying down his life. Faced with the needs of others, we can at times feel trapped into looking after them, caught by duty, obligation, or guilt. We can become like the hired hands doing a job without care for the person. Perhaps you have experienced both attitudes, caring for others under duress and caring by your free choice. What difference did it make when you chose to care for the other, even in circumstances where you had little option?
4. What do these experiences of love and care in human relationships reveal to you about God’s love for you?  – John Byrne, OSA

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving your life for us. Please help more young people to follow your example by giving their lives in service as priests and religious. If you are calling someone in our family to the priesthood or the religious life, please help them to say ‘yes’. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.  – Family Vocation Prayer

The Deep End
In Jesus’ time, being a shepherd was not a pleasant job. Sheep became easily lost and the shepherd’s job was to guide them back to safety. There were many dangers and the sheep were totally dependent on the shepherd. Shepherds would round up their sheep in the evening and guide them into their pen. But it had no gate so the shepherd would have to lie across the space in case the sheep were attacked in the night. The shepherds literally laid down their lives for their flock. John compares the sacrifice of the shepherd to the ‘hired hand’ who is not really committed to the flock. He does what he has to but flees at the first sign of trouble.
This Good Shepherd Sunday, the gospel describes Jesus as the ‘genuine’ Shepherd who wants a personal relationship with each one of us and who would lay down his life for us. The gospel emphasises the importance of relationship as the shepherd knows his flock and cares for them. They ‘follow him’ and it is not a Facebook or Twitter type of following, rather it is a genuine relationship. Everyone matters to the Good Shepherd, regardless of their situations. We are told ‘I know my own and my own know me’. We are called today to follow Jesus in a more personal, more intimate way. Even when we stray off the path and get lost, it is then – especially – that the Good Shepherd comes looking for us.
‘We think we are fleeing from God, but in fact we are running into his arms.’ (Meister Eckhart)  – Jane Mellett, Pastoral Worker, Dublin Diocese

(from Intercom)


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Today’s Mass Readings
Easter Reflection
With OUR EYES we see the beauty of Easter
as the earth awakens once more…
With OUR EARS we hear the birds sing sweetly to tell us Spring again is here…
With OUR HANDS we pick the golden daffodils and the fragrant hyacinths…
But only with OUR HEARTS can we feel the miracle of God’s love which redeems us all…
And only with OUR SOUL can we make our ‘pilgrimage to God’
and inherit His Easter gift of eternal life.
Helen Steiner Rice
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