Jesus Feeds His Sheep
The Fourth Sunday of Easter receives the special designation of Good Shepherd Sunday. In the Gospels, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, for He is the shepherd of our souls. Recall how many times Jesus fed people during His public ministry and even after the Resurrection. There are the stories of the multiplication of the loaves, when Jesus realized the hunger of the people and wanted to provide for them. Making use of what was available to Him, He fed thousands with five loaves and two fish.
He fed His apostles on the night of the Last Supper when He broke the bread, said the blessing, and gave them Communion. He fed the disciples on the road to Emmaus when He broke bread with them. And He fed the apostles on the shore of the Sea of Galilee after the Resurrection. Jesus looked out for people’s needs, especially their physical needs, whether that meant healing or making sure they were fed.
Every Sunday when we come to Mass, Jesus feeds us. The Liturgy of the Word (the readings from Scripture, the homily, the Creed, and the petitions) is often called “the table of the word” which evokes the image of being fed with God’s holy Word. The words of Scripture feed our minds and our souls. And then we are fed by Jesus at the table of the Eucharist with His Body and Blood. Just as a shepherd feeds his sheep daily and they listen to his voice, at Mass today, we have listened to Jesus speak to us and allowed Him to feed us. Be sure to savor it.
Points to Ponder
Do you listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd?
Are there unhealthy media or foods you consume on a daily basis? Do you allow Jesus to feed your hunger for the good you desire?
Thank You, Jesus, for being the Good Shepherd who feeds His sheep and for nourishing my mind, body, and soul with Your sacred food.
Remembering My First Holy Communion
A rite of passage in the Faith is making our First Holy Communion. Pope St. Pius X lowered the age for receiving First Communion to the age of reason, which has been determined to be about seven. Maybe you have had the opportunity to celebrate a First Communion with a family member or your parish community. It is always a special occasion for all involved.
Most children receive their First Communion with their friends and classmates. For me, that wasn’t the case. I broke out in chicken pox on that momentous occasion and had to make my First Communion by myself. It was Mother’s Day weekend that year and a day removed from my birthday. My hometown pastor was on vacation that weekend, so a visiting priest gave me Jesus for the first time. I have pictures from that day and also from another Mass, where I dressed up again in the same clothes to receive Jesus from our pastor. Pictures document that occasion too.
What do you remember about your First Holy Communion? At what church did it take place? Who was the priest? Did you have a profound experience with Jesus that day?
What was your second Holy Communion like? In your imagination, try to relive that experience of yours. And if you can’t call it to mind, think of a First Communion you have been to recently.
Thank You, Jesus, for allowing me to receive You in Holy Communion. Ever since my First Communion, I have been able to be united to You in a special way. Help me to appreciate every Communion with the faith of a child, who so readily believes that You are truly present.
This article is adapted from Meditations After Holy Communion: Guided Meditations for Every Sunday and Other Holy Days. It is available from your favorite bookseller or online through Sophia Institute Press.