The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday. It is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations. The scripture lessons are about shepherds. Each year on this Sunday we reflect on the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd, devotedly taking care of his flock. The title of the parish priest, "pastor," means shepherd. A shepherd leads, feeds, nurtures, comforts, corrects, and protects his flock—responsibilities that belong to every church leader. The earliest Christians had seen Jesus as the fulfillment of the ancient Jewish dream of a good shepherd. They also wished to include the Gentiles as part of God’s flock. In today’s first reading, Peter asserts unequivocally before the Jewish assembly that there is no salvation except through Christ, the Good Shepherd, whom the Jewish leaders have rejected and crucified, and in whose name the apostles preach and heal. In the second reading, St. John tells us how Yahweh the Good Shepherd of the Old Testament expressed His love for us through His Son Jesus, the Good Shepherd, by making us His children. The Gospel text offers us both comfort and challenge. The comforting good news is that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows us, provides for us and loves us. The challenge is that we should be good shepherds to those entrusted to our care.
Indeed, all parishes within the Diocese of Honolulu are restoring the Original Order of the Sacraments of Initiation between 2018-2020.
In the early Church, the person was immersed into the waters of Baptism, anointed with chrism, and shared in the Eucharistic meal as part of a single event. Over time, and for many reasons, the celebration of these three sacraments became separated from one another. In the renewal stemming from the Second Vatican Council, the Church was asked to more clearly set forth the intimate connection of Confirmation with the whole of Christian initiation. This original order also helps us recognize that sharing in the Eucharist completes our initiation into the Church and that it is Eucharist which is the “source and summit of our faith.”
Go to www.catholichawaii.org for more information on this