Praying with Sunday's Scriptures
Good Shepherd leads us on the path to an abundant life as followers of God
Editor's note: To help small faith-sharing groups, couples, individuals and others continue the Renew 2000 experience of praying with the Sunday Scriptures, a Diocesan Faith Sharing Writing Team has prepared a monthly series using the Renew model. The series is being distributed to parish leaders and will appear in The Compass the week before that Sunday.
April 21, 2002, Fourth Sunday of Easter
Reading I: Acts 2:14, 36-47
Reading II: 1 Peter 2:19-25
Gospel: John 10:1-10
By Jackie Staley
Focus: Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads us on the path of abundant life.
Opening Prayer: (from Psalm 23)
Repeat the refrain after each part: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul.
He guides me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side.
Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.
Scripture Sharing: What thought, line or image from the Scripture readings caught your attention?
Reflection: Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. To help us understand who God is he says that God is the gate through which we walk and the Good Shepherd who guides us. God is both comfort and courage to us on our path to abundant life.
Yet we do not walk on that path alone, but as part of a family, a faith community, part of all of creation. Living abundantly in this world, even as it resists the good, is our task. We are part of a world in need of transformation. Does Jesus' death and resurrection make a difference on how we forge ahead? Raise your voice. Act with courage for the good. The Good Shepherd remains our guide.
1. As an individual, what does it mean for you "to have life and have it abundantly"?
2. How do the Scriptures for this Sunday console you? How do they challenge you?
3. Where is the Good Shepherd leading you as you act to help transform the world?
4. What other images of God help you to understand who God is for you?
Action Response: How are you "summoned to serve"?
1. Depending on the Good Shepherd to lead you, take some risk to act with courage this week on behalf of the good, especially when fear, reluctance, or resentment might hold you back.
2. As a small community send a card of Easter greetings and welcome to those in your parish who were recently baptized or received into the church. Consider inviting one of them to join your group.
Individuals offer their intentions to bring to prayer.
Good Shepherd, we thank you for this time together. Lead us on the path to your abundant life and help us to have the courage to share it with others. We thank you for your death and resurrection for our sakes. May our lives each day reflect our gratitude. We pray in your name, through the Father and Holy Spirit. Amen.
(Staley is a member of the diocesan Writing Team for Faith Sharing Sessions, 2002.)