Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 17, 2016
“Sing joyfully to the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.”
Today's responsorial psalm is an invitation to praise God. Whenever the word “Lord” appears with all capital letters in the lectionary or Bible, that indicates that the word that it translates from the Hebrew Scriptures is the divine Name YHWH, the not-to-be-pronounced Name by which the chosen people knew their God.
Today's Gospel evokes another title for God—the image of YHWH as Israel's shepherd—an image that we embrace in this holy season of Paschal joy as we continue to sing out our Alleluias! The image of the shepherd, so familiar to us in psalmody (Psalm 100:1–2, Psalm 80:1, and Psalm 23:1–3) and throughout the Scriptures is the image of a leader who guides, loves, and embraces all of humanity. The Paschal song that we sing calls us to lay down our own lives for the sake of the Gospel, for the liturgical assembly that we serve, and indeed for all humanity. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy may we, in our role as pastoral musicians, embrace the call of Pope Francis to be a "balm of mercy" so that our joy-filled song may lead the flock of the Lord into God's warm and loving embrace.
O Jesus, Good Shepherd and Gatekeeper,
continue to invite us through the door which is open wide,
where all are welcome, where all receive God's love and forgiveness.
May our song of praise be an open door that leads all to the heart of the Good Shepherd,
a place of refuge and rest. Alleluia!
Michael R. Prendergast
Sacred Liturgy Ministries