The Lord Jesus is Risen…Alleluia!! He is Risen indeed…Alleluia! This Easter proclamation of joy is
intended to fill us with faith, hope and love in the continued presence of the Crucified One, Jesus Christ
our Lord, who has conquered sin and death and calls us to rise with him to Eternal Life. May we answer
that call by conforming our lives to his life, sacrificing ourselves as he sacrificed himself, in loving service
of neighbor.

The Easter proclamation is to resound in the Church for fifty days, up to the Feast of Pentecost; this year
on May 19. One of the Sundays of Easter, the Fourth Sunday, is referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday
because the readings of that Sunday, and particularly the Gospel reading, speak of God, our Lord Jesus,
as the Good Shepherd, who does not abandon his sheep but lays down his life for them. We are so
grateful to our loving and good Shepherd for this precious gift of his life, which we receive in a very real
way in the Eucharist.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, calls others to help him in his shepherding, particularly those called to the
ordained ministry as priests and deacons. Certainly, all of the baptized are called to shepherd in some
way. Spouses are to shepherd, guide, each other to God’s pasture, and parents their children. Those
called to a life of special consecration are called to shepherd God’s people by their vowed commitment
of poverty, chastity and obedience, reminding all that our true and lasting pasture is in the life to come.
However, on Good Shepherd Sunday, we are called to pray in a special way for those called to be
shepherds with the Good Shepherd through the administration of the sacraments: those called to be
priests and deacons.

As stated above, the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep and those called to the ordained
ministry are to do the same. In fact, during the ordination rite itself, the candidate to be ordained
literally lies down on the floor of the church before he is given the gift of holy orders through the hands
of the bishop. The deepest way that the one ordained is to lay down his life is by giving his life over to
the administration of the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist.

Each celebration of the mass is for the ordained person an opportunity to once again lay down his life
for God’s flock, to follow the Good Shepherd to the cross and to sacrifice himself along with the Lord so
that blood and water might flow out for the salvation of the members of the flock. The pierced side of
Jesus has always been seen as the outflowing of the sacraments for the Church and this outflow
continues through the ministry of priests and deacons. We see, then, the importance of having those
whom God is calling to this important function to respond to that call generously and promptly. Thus,
we pray on this Sunday of the Good Shepherd, that more shepherds may heed the call and come to
minister to God’s flock.

St. Joseph, called to watch over and guide the Good Shepherd as a child, pray for those called to be
shepherds like him to respond with a resounding yes!

Fr. Brian, OSJ