Fourth Sunday after Easter – Year B

April 21 - May 3

Gospel Lectionary Text

John 10:11-18

10:11 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

10:12 The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away--and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

10:13 The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep.

10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.

10:16 I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

10:17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.

10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father."


In the fourth week of Easter, we celebrate “Good Shepherd Sunday.” This week’s text is filled with mixed metaphors. The Good Shepherd turns out to be the sacrificial lamb before a pack of hungry wolves.

In one interpretation of this text, what makes the shepherd “good” is his obedience to God, who requires the perfect sacrifice to appease God's holy wrath. Jesus’ reward for his obedience is resurrection, which is now available to us if we repent and believe.

In an alternative interpretation, what makes the shepherd “good” is that he exposes (and forgives) the sacrificial system for what it is — a human construction of fake goodness which feeds off innocent victims. In doing so he reveals a God in whom there is no violence. In this case, it's forgiveness that makes the shepherd good.

In the first reading, God is the hungry wolf who must be satisfied. In the second, humanity is the hungry wolf.


In your experience, what makes the Good Shepherd “good” and what does that reveal about the hungry wolves in your life?


As you contemplate the Christ Mystery, Inhale (I) and exhale (E) according to the prompts.

(I) Christ in me; (E) Me in Christ; (I) Christ in all; (E) All is well;

(I) Christ in me; (E) Me in Christ; (I) Christ in all; (E) All is one;

(I) Christ in me; (E) Me in Christ; (I) Christ in all; (E) All is Christ;

(I) All is Christ; (E) All is one; (I) All is well; (E) In Christ;

See the complete prayer

Word from Below Reflections

The Good Shepherd

This week is Good Shepherd Sunday. Thank goodness, because I am feeling like a sheep in need of a good shepherd, and so are the communities we serve. In our Gospel reading, Jesus refers to himself as the Good Shepherd who, “lays down his life for the sheep.” I confess that my idea of a...

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Power and Authority Reframed

In one of my favorite Ted Talks, Educational Technology Specialist Sugata Mitra discusses his experiments with “Hole in the Wall” computers. These are computer kiosks left in Indian slums, among children with no prior contact with PCs.

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Understanding the Bible anew through the Mimetic Theory of René Girard.

Weekly Homily by James Alison