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Lambs and Shepherds| Breaking Open the Word at Home

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This Sunday’s readings are all about Jesus as the sacrificial Lamb, as well as the Good Shepherd who leads us to eternal life.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

As the apostles continued to preach the Gospel, they went first to the Jewish people, because the Jewish people are God’s chosen—God spoke through them and to them first, and it was through the Jewish people that we got “Jesus people” (remember, Jesus was Jewish and so was pretty much everyone who hung out with him).

The first reading reflects what happened when many of the Jewish people rejected the Gospel: the Apostles went to the gentiles (non-Jews) next. Many of them accepted Jesus happily. Paul, in particular, was given the job to go to the gentiles. He knew that he was supposed to be a “light to the nations” by bringing them Jesus, the Light of the World.

The second reading, from the book of Revelation, talks about the huge number of people who were in heaven. They are, “the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” So, if they survived, what are they doing in heaven? Their survival is spiritual—they did not give in or give up when they were suffering persecution. They allowed themselves to be killed in order to remain faithful to the Gospel.

The Gospel is super short! It’s just long enough to tell us that Jesus, who is referred to repeatedly as “The Lamb” in Revelation, is also the Shepherd of the flock. He is our shepherd.  He is one of us as a human being; he is the Passover Sacrifice that fulfilled the Covenant God made with the Jewish people; and he is God, who leads us to safety and eternal life. The promise that we are given by the Lamb who is the Shepherd is that we will be with him forever in heaven, but until then, we will have to deal with the difficulty of this world. The very good news is that, whatever comes our way, we aren’t alone in our trouble—Jesus has been through it all and is with us every step.

You can read this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Cycle C

 

Break Open the Word with Your Family

Kids

Think about the different kinds of light—the light of sunrise, sunset, midday, the moon, your nightlight…What are some of the things you like about those different lights? What kind of light is Jesus like? How can you share that light with others?

Teens

Have you ever come across a person or group of people who were offered something great, but didn’t appreciate what they were being given and either wasted it or threw it away? Have you ever been that person? What was it like when they (or you) realized what they had lost?

Adults

Have you ever had clothes stained with blood? It’s hard to get that kind of a stain out—and it certainly doesn’t turn white! (hydrogen peroxide as a pre-treat does wonders, though) The robes that were washed white in the blood of the Lamb were the robes given to martyrs. They are also our Baptismal garments—the sign that Jesus purchased our eternal life for us with his blood.  Think about those images. What do they mean to you? How does this insight color (pun intended) our traditions of wearing white for 1st Communion and Marriage? How do you “put on Christ” (words from the Baptism ritual) and wear that garment in your daily life?

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.

 

A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.

 

The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”

 

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Pastoral Associate

Jen is a massive fan of all things Sci-fi, Superheroes and Cartoons. These things, more than any other, occupy her mind & keyboard as she ponders them through the lens of her Catholic Faith. Jen is a Pastoral Associate for a Catholic Church, a wife, and mother of two boys.

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