Acts 13:14, 43-52
Let us pray.
you are good and kind and you care for us
as a good shepherd cares for his sheep.
Help us to listen to your voice and follow you.
In the name of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we pray.
Opening Life Reflection
On this Fourth Sunday of Easter we are given the images of sheep and shepherd to describe the relationship between Jesus and his followers. Begin with a footprint activity. Provide scissors and the outline of a footprint on a sheet of construction paper for each child. Invite the children to put their names on the footprint and cut it out. When they are done, have the children come forward and place their footprints on a path that leads to Jesus the Good Shepherd. Discuss:
- What are some ways that we follow Jesus?
- How is Jesus like a good shepherd?
- How are we like sheep?
Allow time for discussion. Jesus is like a good shepherd because he knows us and cares for us. Followers of Jesus are like sheep because they listen to Jesus’ voice and follow him.
Listening to the Word of God
In the first reading from Acts of the Apostles, listen to how many people gather to hear the word of the Lord.
Read Acts 13:14, 43-52.
Allow for silence.
Scripture Discussion Starters
- What are Paul and Barnabas doing in Antioch?
- Why do they cause some of the Jews to become jealous?
- Why do many people come to listen to the word of the Lord?
- Why do Paul and Barnabas leave the area?
- What do they do when they leave?
In the gospel today, listen to Jesus tell his followers how he is like a shepherd.
Read John 10:27-30.
Allow for silence.
- How does Jesus describe his sheep?
- What does Jesus give his followers?
- What does Jesus say about himself and the Father?
Provide 2-3 minutes of background information on the readings.
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because the image of shepherd is used to describe the relationship between Jesus and those who belong to him.
The first reading from Acts describes Paul’s missionary journey to Antioch. Paul and Barnabas preach the good news and many Jews follow them. Soon the whole city gathers to hear the word of the Lord. This causes some in the Jewish community at Antioch to become jealous.
Paul speaks out claiming to be sent by God to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. This points out that the disciples’ mission to speak the word of God to the Gentiles is part of God’s plan. Upon leaving the area Paul and Barnabas “shook the dust form their feet,” a practice Jesus told the first disciples to use when they are rejected. But all is not lost. The disciples leave behind many people of newfound faith who are full of joy and the Holy Spirit.
In the gospel Jesus uses the image of sheep and shepherd to describe his love and care for his followers. We hear the message that those who belong to Jesus are held safely in the hand of God.
Today’s passage goes on to reveal the gift of everlasting life. Not only does Jesus give his followers guidance and protection, they are also promised the gift of eternal life.
Questions for Deeper Reflection
- How can you show others that you follow Jesus?
- How do you listen for Jesus’ voice?
- What does Jesus give you?
If you are not going to continue with the doctrinal discussion, proceed to the Gospel in Life.
Doctrinal Discussion Starters
The Divinity of Christ
We believe that Jesus and God are together as one. Jesus has shown us who God is as Father and Creator. Also, because of the total love that they share, Jesus reveals to us the nature of God.
At liturgy, the Church prays what we believe about the Trinity. We proclaim that Christ is “begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.”
- What helps you to grow in your understanding of God?
- How does Jesus help you to know God better?
- What does it mean that Jesus and God are One?
The Gospel in Life
How can you follow Jesus better this week?
Connecting to Faith First® Legacy Edition
At Home Family Guide, theme 27
Grade 4, page 273 Parish and page 377 School
Grade 5, page 273 Parish and page 377 School
Grade 6, page 273 Parish and page 377 School
Blest Are We
Grade 4, chapter 5
Grade 5, chapter 13
Grade 6, chapter 2