Fourth Sunday of Easter

Begin with a few moments of quiet.

The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.

This is a 5 minute facilitated meditation on opening ourselves to the presence of God within, particularly in the context of our current confinement

Alternatively use this method of entering quiet:

Invite all present to sit comfortably.

When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.

Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen

Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?

Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Introduce the Gospel

The journey for the disciples of Jesus from the events of Easter through to Pentecost was one of growing in understanding. It is a journey form total confusion and loss through to the confidence of Pentecost Day, when they are empowered to spread the Good News of the resurrected Christ.

What is distinctive about our faith as Christians? We do not believe in a system of ideas or even in a higher ethics: we believe in a person, who gives life “a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Benedict XVI).
John’s Gospel makes this clear with its great I am sentences, one of which we hear today: “I am the gate.” Naturally, we think the gate to what? The gate to life to the full. The risk today is to set our expectations low, to be happy with less. But the Gospel calls us not to be half alive, but to be fully alive. Let us enter by the gate himself, because the gate to life is always open.

Before reading the Gospel, you might like to watch the following video in order to set the context for the Gospel imagery.

Read the GospelJohn 10:1-10
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.

Jesus said: ‘I tell you most solemnly, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate, but gets in some other way is a thief and a brigand. The one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the flock; the gatekeeper lets him in, the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out. When he has brought out his flock, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice. They never follow a stranger but run away from him: they do not recognise the voice of strangers.’
Jesus told them this parable but they failed to understand what he meant by telling it to them.
So Jesus spoke to them again:

‘I tell you most solemnly,
I am the gate of the sheepfold.
All others who have come
are thieves and brigands;
but the sheep took no notice of them.
I am the gate.
Anyone who enters through me will be safe:
he will go freely in and out
and be sure of finding pasture.
The thief comes
only to steal and kill and destroy.
I have come
so that they may have life and have it to the full.’

 Reflect on the Gospel

Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use the quietening music again if you wish

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

When you are ready, use one or more of the following questions to assist deeper reflection. You don’t need to use them all in one sitting. You can revisit this page on any day over the week to read again the Gospel and to use a different one of the questions.

  1. “Care” seems the fundamental image here. It invites a reflection on our own experience of being cared for, in all sorts of ways. It opens us to the experience of being cared for by God in Jesus. Prayer of being loved.
  2. Guidance is part of the metaphor. In what ways have I found myself lost in the labyrinth life and in need of direction? Where did I find guidance? Does the word of God guide me today?
    Prayer of being accompanied.
  3. In looking for meaning, when did I realise the Gospel is really not a teaching but a person? Prayer of relationship.
  4. We all want to live and be alive, to have life in abundance. How am I at this point in my life? Where does faith in Jesus as the gate come in? Prayer of being alive.

Finish this part with a Prayer

Often, loving Lord, we find ourselves
astray and defenceless. Let us recognise your voice, calling us one by one
as you call us to follow you. Amen

Prayer of the Faithful

In the Mass, the prayer of the faithful are the people’s response to their reflection on the Scripture readings. The following have been prepared by parishioners for our Masses on this weekend.

“I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.”

We admire the courage of Peter and the apostles in risking their lives to preach the Gospel. Let us share in that confidence as we turn to You our God with our prayers for our church, our community and ourselves:

For a listening heart: that we, who have been called by name, may hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and respond confidently to Your invitations. Lord hear us

For Pope Francis and all of Your Shepherds on earth: that they may faithfully imitate Christ, the Good Shepherd, in accompanying Your people on our journey and encouraging our growth toward wholeness. Lord hear us

For our exam students: that they may be granted the grace to endure the uncertainty and stress currently surrounding their circumstances, and that the situation will be resolved in the fairest way possible. Lord hear us

For all who work to restore life and bring healing, as well as those keeping the economy going, including medical personnel, hospital staff and retail staff: that You will guide them and preserve them from harm. Lord hear us

For healing in mind, body, and spirit: that the wounds of Christ will restore to wholeness all who are suffering, including those who have lost their jobs and those feeling isolated. Lord hear us

For government leaders worldwide: that You will give them insight and courage as they develop plans to both preserve the health and safety of society and to reopen the economy. Lord hear us

For your own intentions: name those intentions you specifically want to mention Lord hear us

For all who have died  ………. name those people you specifically want to remember Lord hear us

Open our ears, O Lord, to the words of Scripture, that our hearts may burn within us. Open our hearts to share with others the faith we have received, that “we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith”. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Use the quietening music one more time, if you wish, to bring your prayer time to a close.

Spiegel im Spiegel – Arvo Pärt

Additional Resources

Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Gospel. – Click Here

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