Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
As a youngster in the 1950s, serving Mass in my home parish, I was always excited when a Franciscan priest who grew up in our neighborhood came home for a visit. He’d become a foreign missionary, and I loved to hear his stories of different lands and peoples. He inspired me to consider the priesthood, and a vocation to the Franciscans.
But I never actually became a foreign missionary. My Christian life—like that of most Catholics I know—is usually a lot less glamorous. My “mission field” is the inner-city parish where I’m pastor, and the broadcasting and webcasting world, where I’m part of what Pope John Paul II called the “new evangelization.” Your “mission field” may be your home and family, your daily work, or your school.
So today, when we hear the exciting adventures of Paul and Barnabas in the reading from theActs of the Apostles, we may wonder: How can we answer the call from Jesus to “go out and preach to all nations”?
One way is to support missionaries we may know personally by our prayers and financial help. We can also match their zeal in ourownwitness to Christ, and sharing our faith with others where appropriate. Let our attitude be that of the Good Shepherd, whose care for us is proclaimed in today’sGospel.
In the first reading, Paul and Barnabas reached Antioch in Pisidia and went into the synagogue where there were many worshipers who were converts to Judaism. What is a synagogue?
The next Sabbath, the leaders of the Jews contradicted Paul and Barnabas. The Gentiles were delighted to think of Paul and Barnabas as bringing the word of God to them. What did the Jewish leaders do next against Paul and Barnabas?
This week's second reading tells of John recounting his vision of many people standing before the throne of God and the Lamb. Who were these people? Where did they come from?
Why would they suffer no more persecution? Who was now their shepherd?
In the Gospel, Jesus says that he is the shepherd. Have you ever seen a shepherd?
Who gave him the sheep that he is protecting, so that they will have eternal life?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Grab some cotton balls and make your own fluffy sheep like the one talked about in the Gospel.
Paul and Barnabas traveled to Antioch in the first reading. Think about the places that you have traveled. Have everyone in your family recall his or her favorite vacation destination. Take some time to look through photos from your vacations and the things you did while there.