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Taken from Fr. Leonard Goffine's Explanations of the Epistles and Gospels for the Sundays, Holydays, and Festivals throughout the Ecclesiastical Year 36th edition, 1880

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BECAUSE of the joyous Resurrection of Christ, and the graces flowing to us on account of it, the Church sings at the Introit of the Mass: The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord, alleluia; by the word of the Lord the heavens were established, alleluia, alleluia. Rejoice in the Lord, ye just: praise becometh the upright.  (Ps. xxii.) Glory be to the Father, &c.

PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. O God, who in the humility of Thy Son hast raised up a fallen world; grant to Thy faithful a perpetual joyfulness; that whereas Thou hast rescued them from the perils of eternal death, Thou mayest bring them to the fruition of everlasting joy. Through.

EPISTLE. (i Pet. ii. 21 — 25.) Dearly beloved, Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who, when he was reviled, did not revile; when he suffered, he threatened not; but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly; who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray: but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.

Quote:EXPLANATION. St. Peter teaches the Christians patience in misery and afflictions, even in unjust persecution, and for this purpose places before them the example of Christ who, though most innocent, suffered most terribly and most patiently. Are we true sheep of the good Shepherd if at the smallest cross, at every word, we become angry and impatient?

ASPIRATION. O Lord Jesus! grant me the grace to follow Thee, my good Shepherd, and not to complain and make threats whenever I am reprimanded, reviled or persecuted for justice' sake.

GOSPEL. [John x. n — 16.) At that time, Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth; and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep: and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

How has Christ proved Himself a good Shepherd?

By sacrificing His life even for His enemies, for those who did not yet love Him, (i John iv. 10; Rom. v. 8.) and could not reward Him. He has besides given Himself to us for our food.

How are we to know if we are among the sheep of Christ, that is, His chosen ones?

If we listen willingly to the voice of the Shepherd in sermons and instructions, in spiritual books and conversations; are obedient to it, and especially give ear and follow the rules of the Church through which the Good Shepherd speaks to us, (Luke x. 16.) "for he," says St. Augustine, "who has not the Church for his mother, will not have God for his father;" if we gladly receive the food of the Good Shepherd, that is, His sacred Body and Blood in holy Communion; if we are patient and meek as a lamb, freely forgiving our enemies; if we love all men from our heart, do good to them, and seek to bring them to Jesus.

Who are the other sheep of Christ?

The Gentiles who were not of the fold of Israel, whom Christ sought to bring by His disciples, and now by their successors, into His fold. — To these sheep we also belonged by our ancestors. O how grateful we should be to God, that He has brought us into the fold of His Church, and how diligently should we conduct ourselves as good sheep!

When will there be but one fold and one shepherd?

When, by the prayers of the Church and by her missionaries, all nations shall be converted to the only saving Church, constituting then one Church under one head. Let us pray that this may soon come to pass.

PRAYER. O Lord Jesus! Thou Good Shepherd who on the cross didst give Thy life for Thy sheep, grant us, we beseech Thee, by Thy death, the grace to be faithful to Thy voice and teachings like obedient lambs that we maybe one day numbered among Thy chosen ones in heaven.

I lay down my life for my sheep. (John. x. 15.)

What has Christ obtained for us by His death?

THE remission of our sins, the grace to lead a life pleasing to God in this world, and eternal happiness in the next, for which we now firmly hope, with secure confidence may now expect, and most assuredly will obtain, if we do not fail on our part.

In what does eternal happiness consist?

In the beatific vision of God, which includes the most perfect love of Him, by which those who are saved become, as it were, one with Him, possessing in this union every- thing that they can possibly desire.

What are the necessary means of obtaining eternal happiness?

The grace of God, that is, His continual assistance; the practice of the three divine virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity the keeping of God's commandments; the frequent use of the holy Sacraments, and constant prayer. These means must be diligently employed, “For as God who," as St. Augustine says, "created us without us, will not save us without us," that is, without our cooperation.

What may especially enable us to hope for eternal happiness?

The infinite mercy and goodness of God, who from all eternity has loved us more than an earthly mother, and because of this love did not even spare His only-begotten Son, but gave Him up, for our sake, to the most bitter death. Will He then deny us heaven, He who in giving us His Son, has given us more than heaven itself? The fidelity of God: He has so often promised us eternal happiness, and in so many texts of Scripture so clearly explained that He wishes us to be saved, that He must keep His promise, for He is eternal truth and cannot deceive. (Heb. vi. 18.) He says not yes today, and no tomorrow, there is no change in Him, nor shadow of alteration. (James i. 17.) The omnipotence of God, who can do all that He pleases, whom no one can oppose or prevent from doing what He will; if we have confidence in a rich and honest man who assures us he will assist us in need, how much more should we hope in the goodness, fidelity, and omnipotence of God!

When should we make an act of Hope?

As soon as we come to the use of reason and are sufficiently instructed concerning this virtue and its motives; in time of trouble or of severe temptation against this virtue; when receiving the holy Sacraments; every morning and evening, and especially at the hour of death.

The same thing is to be observed in regard to acts of Faith and Love.
Second Sunday After Easter – Good Shepherd Sunday
Taken from The Liturgical Year by Dom Prosper Gueranger (1841-1875)

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℣. In resurrectione tua, Christe, alleluia. 
℣. In thy resurrection, O Christ, alleluia.

℟. Cœli et terra lætentur, alleluia. 
℟. Let heaven and earth rejoice, alleluia.

This Sunday goes under the name of the Good Shepherd Sunday, because in the Mass, there is read the Gospel of St. John, wherein our Lord calls himself by this name. How very appropriate is this passage of the Gospel to this present Season, when our Divine Master began his work of establishing and consolidating the Church, by giving it the Pastor, or Shepherd, who was to govern it to the end of time!

In accordance with the eternal decree, the ManGod, on the fortieth day after his Resurrection, is to withdraw his visible presence from the world. He is not to be again seen upon the earth till the Last Day, when he will come again to judge the living and the dead. And yet, he could never abandon mankind, for which he offered himself on the Cross, and which he delivered from death and hell by rising triumphantly from the Grave. He will continue to be its Head after his Ascension into heaven : but what shall we have, on earth, to supply his place ? We shall have the Church. It is to the Church that he will leave all his own authority to rule us; it is into the hands of the Church that he will intrust all the truths he has taught ; it is the Church that he will make the dispenser of all those means of salvation, which he has destined for the world.

This Church is a society, unto which all mankind s invited. It is composed of two classes of Members ; the governing and the governed ; the teaching and the taught ; the sanctifying and the sanctified. This Society is the Spouse of Christ ; it is by her that he produces his elect. She is the one only Mother of the elect ; out of her bosom, there is no salvation.

But how is this society to subsist ? how is it to persevere through the long ages of time, even to the Last Day ? who is to give it unity and adhesion of its parts ? what is to be the visible link between its members, – the palpable sign of its being the true Spouse of Christ, in the event of other societies rising up and disputing her titles ? If Jesus himself could have remained with us, we should have had nothing to fear, for where he is, there also are truth and life ; but, as he says, he is going, and we may not as yet follow him. Give ear, then, and learn what is the primary quality of the true Spouse of Christ.

Jesus was one day, previous to his Passion, in the country of Cesarea Philippi; his Apostles were standing around him, and he began questioning them about what they thought of him. One of them, Simon the son of John or Jonas, and brother to Andrew, answered in the name of all, and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God! Jesus expressed his pleasure at receiving Simon’s testimony, which was not the result of any human knowledge, but the expression of a divine revelation there and then granted to him; and he immediately told this Apostle that from that time forward he was to be not Simon, but Peter (which means a Rock). Christ had been spoken of by the Prophets under the name of a Rock, or Stone; by thus solemnly conferring upon his Disciple a title so characteristically that of the Messias, Jesus would give us to understand that Simon was to have a something in common with himself, which the other Apostles were not to have. After saying to him: Thou art Peter (that is, thou art the Rock)—he added: And upon this Rock I will build my Church.

Let us weigh the force of these words of the Son of God: I will build my Church. He has, then, a project in view—he intends to build a Church. It is not now that he will build it, but at some future period; but one thing we already know as a certainty—it is that this Church will be built on Peter. Peter will be its foundation; and whosoever is not on that foundation will not belong to the Church. Let us again give ear to the Text: And the gates of hell shall not prevail against my Church. In scriptural language, gates signify the powers: the Church of Christ, therefore, it to be proof against all the efforts of hell. And why? Because the foundation, which Jesus is to give to it, shall be one that no power can shake. The Son of God continues: And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. In the language of the Jews, keys signify the power of governing; and in the Gospel Parables, the Kingdom of Heaven is the Church built by Christ. By saying to Peter (which is henceforth to be Simon’s name), I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of heaven, Jesus implied this: “I will make thee the King of my Church, of which thou art to be the Foundation!” Nothing could be clearer. But let us remember that all these magnificent promises regard the future.

That future has now become the present. We are now come to the last days of Jesus’ visible presence here below. The time is come for him to make good his promise and found the Kingdom of God—that Church which he was to build upon the earth. The Apostles, in obedience to the order sent them by the Angels, are come into Galilee. Our Lord appears to them on the shore of the lake of Tiberias: after providing them with a mysterious repast, and while they are all attentive to his words, he suddenly addresses himself to Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Observe, he does not call him Peter; he, as it were, goes back to the day when he said to him: Simon, son of Jonas, thou art Peter; he would have his Disciples note the connection between the promise and its actual fulfillment. Peter, with his usual eagerness, answers his Master’s question: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus resumes, with a tone of authority: Feed my Lambs! Then, repeating the question, he asks: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter is surprised at his Master’s urging such an inquiry; still, he answers with the same simplicity as before: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee: and as soon as he had given answer, Jesus repeats the words of investiture: Feed my lambs!

The Disciples respectfully listen to this dialogue; they see plainly that, here again, Peter is made an object of Jesus’ partiality, and is receiving a something which they themselves are not to receive. They remember what happened at Cesarea Philippi, and how, ever since that day, peter has been treated by their Master with especial honor. And yet, there is another privilege or office to be added to this of feeding the Lambs. A third time, then, Jesus says to Peter: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? This is too much for the apostle. These three questionings of his love bring to his mind the three denials he had so sinfully made to the servant girl of Caiphas. He feels the allusion to his recent infidelity; and this third time, his answer implies a prayer for forgiveness; his reply bespeaks humility rather than assurance: Lord! says he, thou knowest all things! Thou knowest that I love thee! Then, making Peter’s authority complete, Jesus pronounces these imposing words: Feed my Sheep!

Here, then, we have Peter made Shepherd by Him who says of himself: I am the good Shepherd. Firstly, our Lord gives his apostle, and twice over, the care of his Lambs;—this does not make him the complete Shepherd: but when he bids him feed his Sheep too, the whole Flock is subjected to his authority. Now, therefore, let the Church show herself, let her take her stand, let her spread herself through the length and breadth of the nations: Simon, the son of John, is proclaimed its visible Head. Is the Church a Building? he is the Foundation-Stone, the Petra, the Rock. Is she a Kingdom? he holds the Keys, that is, the scepter. Is she a Fold? he is the Shepherd.

Yes, this Church—which Jesus is now organizing, and is to be proclaimed to the world on the day of Pentecost—is to be a Fold. The Word, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is come down from heaven, that he may gather together in one the children of God, that were dispersed; and the time is at hand when there shall be but one Fold and one Shepherd. O Jesus! our Divine Shepherd! we bless thee, we give thee thanks. It is by thee that the Church thou art now founding, subsists and lives through every age, congregating and saving all that put themselves under her guidance. Her authority, her strength, her unity, all come from thee, her infinitely powerful and merciful Shepherd! We likewise bless and thank thee for that thou hast secured this authority, this strength, this unity, by giving us Peter as thy Vicar, Peter our Shepherd in and by Thee, Peter to whom all, both Sheep and Lambs, owe obedience, Peter in whom thou, our Divine Head, will be forever visible, even to the end of the world!

In the Greek Church, the second Sunday after Easter, which we call Good Shepherd Sunday, goes under the appellation of the Sunday of the holy Myrophorce, that is Perfume- Bearers. The Office celebrates the devotion of the Holy Women who brought their perfumes to the Sepulchre, that they might embalm the Body of Christ. Joseph of Arimathea is also commemorated in the Greek Liturgy of this week.

The Roman Church reads the Acts of the Apostles, in her Matins, from last Monday to the third Sunday after Easter exclusively.


The Introit takes a tone of triumph. It celebrates in the words of the Royal Psalmist, the mercy of the Lord, which, by the foundation of the Church, has filled the whole earth. The Heavens, (by which, in the mysterious language of the Scripture, is frequently meant the Apostles,) were firmly established by the Word of the Lord, when Jesus, (the Word,) gave them Peter as their Shepherd and their Rock.

Miscericordia Domini plena est terra, alleluia: Verbo Domini cœli firmati sunt. Alleluia, alleluia. 
The earth is full of the mercy of the Lord, alleluia: by the Word of the Lord, the Heavens were firmly established. Alleluia, alleluia.

Ps. Exsultate justi in Domini: rectos decet collaudatio. ℣. Gloria Patri. Misericordia. 
Ps. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just! Praise becometh the upright. ℣. Glory, &c. The earth, &c.

In the Collect, the Church asks the grace of holy joy for her children: it is the spirit of Eastertide. Surely, it is a duty to rejoice at our having been saved from death by our Jesus’ Resurrection! Moreover, these Paschal joys are a preparation for those of eternity.

Deus, qui in Filii tui humilitate jacentem mundum erexisti: fidelibus tuis perpetuam concede lætitiam; ut quos perpetuæ mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis. Per eumdem Dominum. 
O God, who, by the humiliation of thy Son, hast raised up the fallen world: grant to thy people perpetual joy: that they whom thou hast delivered from the danger of everlasting death, may arrive at eternal joys. Through the same, &c.

To this are added two of the following Collects:

Of the Blessed Virgin
Concede nos famulos tuos, quæsumus, Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere: et gloriosa beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis intercessione, a præsenti liberari tristitia et æterna perfrui lætitia. 
Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we thy servants may enjoy constant health of body and mind; and by the glorious intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, be delivered from all present sorrow, and come to that joy which is eternal.

Against the Persecutors of the Church
Ecclesiæ tuæ, quæsumus, Domine, preces placatus admitte: ut, destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Dominum. 
Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of thy Church: that, all oppositions and errors being removed, she may serve thee with a secure liberty. Through, &c.

For the Pope
Deus omnium fidelium Pastor et Rector, famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus præest, proficere; ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Dominum. 
O God, the Pastor and Ruler of all the faithful, look down, in thy mercy, on thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church; and grant, we beseech thee, that both by word and example, he may edify all those that are under his charge; and, with the flock entrusted to him, arrive at length at eternal happiness. Through, &c.

Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Peter the Apostle.  I Ch. II.

Dearly beloved: Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who, when he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly. Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.

Quote:It is the Prince of the Apostles, the visible Shepherd of the universal Church, who addresses these words to us. Observe how he ends by turning our thoughts to the invisible Shepherd, whose Vicar he is; and how carefully he avoids any allusion to himself. So, also, when assisting his Disciple Mark to write his Gospel, he would not allow him to relate the history of Christ’s having made him the Shepherd of the whole Flock; whereas, he insisted on his telling every circumstance of his thrice denying Jesus to be his Master. See, too, how feelingly the Apostle here speaks of his Savior—of the sufferings he endured, of his patience, of his devotedness for those poor straying sheep of whom he was to form his fold! These words will one day be verified in Peter himself. The hour will come when, like his Master, he will be fastened to a cross, and patiently endure every insult and cruelty. Jesus told him that it was to be so. After entrusting him with the care of the Sheep and Lambs, our Lord told him that when he should have grown old, he would stretch forth his hands upon a cross, and suffer violence from men. This is to happen not merely to Peter, but to a considerable number of his successors, who are one with himself, and whom future generations are to see continually persecuted, exiled, imprisoned, and put to death. Let us, also, follow Jesus’ steps by cheerfully suffering for justice’s sake: we owe it to Him who, from all eternity, being equal in glory to God the Father, deigned to come down to our earth, that he might be the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls.

The first Alleluia-Versicle commemorates the repast at Emmaus: in a few moments, we also shall know Jesus in the breaking of the Bread of Life.

The second proclaims, in Jesus’ own words, the dignity and qualities of a Shepherd, his love for his Sheep, and the eagerness wherewith his Sheep recognize him as their Master.

Alleluia, alleluia. 
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Cognoverunt discipuli Dominum Jesum in fractione panis.
℣. The Disciples knew the Lord Jesus in the breaking of bread.

Alleluia, alleluia. 
Alleluia, alleluia.

℣. Ego sum Pastor bonus; et cognosco oves meas, et cognoscunt me meæ, alleluia. 
℣. I am the good Shepherd, and I know my sheep, and my sheep know me, alleluia.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to John. Ch. X.
At that time: Jesus said to the Pharisees: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep: And the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling: and he hath no care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.

Quote:Divine Shepherd of our souls! how great is thy love for thy Sheep! Thou givest even thy life to save them. The fury of wolves does not make thee flee from us; thou becomest their prey, that we may escape. Thou diedst in our stead, because thou wast our Shepherd. We are not surprised at thy requiring from Peter a greater love than thou requiredst from his Brother Apostles: thou willedst to make him their and our Shepherd. Peter answered thee, without hesitation, that he loved thee; and thou conferredst upon him thine own name, together with the reality of thy office, in order that he might supply thy place after thy departure from this world. Be thou blessed, O Divine Shepherd! for thy having thus provided for the necessities of thy Fold, which could not be One, were it to have many Shepherds without one supreme Shepherd. In obedience to thy command, we bow down before Peter, with love and submission; we respectfully kiss his sacred feet; for it is by him that we are united to thee; it is by him that we are thy Sheep. Preserve us, O Jesus, in the Fold of Peter, which is thine. Keep far from us the hireling, who usurps the place and rights of the Shepherd. He has intruded himself, or been intruded by violence, into the Fold, and would have us take him as the master; but he knows not the Sheep, and the Sheep do not know him. Led not by zeal, but by avarice and ambition, he flieth at the approach of danger. He that governs through worldly motives is not a man to lay down his life for others. The schismatic Pastor loves himself; he does not love thy Sheep; how could he give his life for them? Protect us, O Jesus, from this hireling! He would separate us from thee by separating us from Peter, whom thou hast appointed thy Vicar; and we are determined to recognize no other. Anathema to him who would command us in thy name, and yet not be sent by Peter! Such a Pastor could be but an impostor; he would not rest on the Foundation; he would not have the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; to follow him would be our ruin. Grant, then, Good Shepherd, Jesus! that we may ever keep close to thee, and to Peter; that as he rests upon thee, we may rest upon him; and thus we may defy every tempest, for thou, dear Lord, hast said: A wise man built his house upon a Rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded on a rock.

The Offertory is an aspiration to God, taken from the Royal Prophet.

Deus Deus meus, ad te de luce vigilo: et in nomine tuo levabo manus meas, alleluia. 
O God, my God! to thee do I watch at break of day: and in thy name I will lift up my hands, alleluia.

In the Secret, the Church prays that the divine energy of the Mystery about to be consummated on the Altar may produce within us the effect we long for—death to sin, and resurrection to grace.

Benedictionem nobis, Domine, conferat salutarem sacra semper oblatio: ut quod agit mysterio, virtute perficiat. Per Dominum. 
May this holy oblation, O Lord, draw down upon us thy saving blessing; and always produce in us the effect of what is represented in these sacred mysteries. Through, &c.

To this the Priest adds two of the following Secrets.

Of the Blessed Virgin
Tua, Domine, propitiatione et beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis intercessione, ad perpetuam atque præsentem hæc oblatio nobis proficiat prosperitatem et pacem. 
By thine own mercy, O Lord, and the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, may this oblation procure us peace and happiness, both in this life, and in that which is to come.

Against the Persecutors of the Church
Protege nos, Domine, tuis mysteriis servientes: ut divinis rebus inhærentes, et corpore tibi famulemur et mente. Per Dominum. 
Protect us, O Lord, while we assist at thy sacred mysteries: that, being employed in acts of religion, we may serve thee, both in body and mind. Through, &c.

For the Pope
Oblatis, quæsumus, Domine, placare muneribus: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, assidua protectione guberna. Per Dominum. 
Be appeased, O Lord, with the offerings we have made: and cease not to protect thy servant N., whom thou hast been pleased to appoint Pastor over thy Church. Through, &c.

The Communion-Anthem speaks to us of the beautiful Mystery of today—the Good Shepherd. Let us once more offer our homage to the Son of God, who deigns to assume this endearing character; and let us ever be his devoted Sheep.

Ego sum Pastor bonus, alleluia: et cognosco oves meas, et cognoscunt me meæ. Alleluia, alleluia. 
I am the good Shepherd, alleluia: and I know my sheep, and my sheep know me. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, has given himself, in this divine banquet, to his Sheep: holy Church prays, in the Postcommunion, that we may ever be penetrated with sentiments of love for this august Sacrament; we ought to glory in it, as being the food that prepares us for immortality.

Præsta nobis, quæsumus omnipotens Deus; ut vivificationis tuæ gratiam consequentes, in tuo semper munere gloriemur. Per Dominum. 
Grant, we beseech thee, O Almighty God, that, receiving from thee the grace of a new life, we may ever glory in thy gift. Through, &c.

To this the Priest adds two of the following Postcommunions.

Of the Blessed Virgin
Sumptis, Domine, salutis nostræ subsidiis: da, quæsumus, beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis patrociniis nos ubique protegi, in cujus veneratione hæc tuæ obtulimus majestati. 
Having received, O Lord, what is to advance our salvation; grant we may always be protected by the patronage of Blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, in whose honor we have offered this sacrifice to thy Majesty.

Against the Persecutors of the Church
Quæsumus, Domine Deus noster: ut quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas subjacere periculis. Per Dominum. 
We beseech thee, O Lord our God, not to leave exposed to the dangers of human life, those whom thou hast permitted to partake of these divine mysteries. Through, &c.

For the Pope
Hæc nos, quæsumus Domine, divini sacramenti perceptio protegat: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, una cum commisso, sibi grege salvet semper et muniat. Per Dominum. 
May the participation of this divine Sacrament protect us, we beseech thee, O Lord; and always procure safety and defense to thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church, together with the flock committed to his charge. Through, &c.

We will close the day with this beautiful Preface taken from the Mozarabic Missal. It commemorates the Resurrection.
(Feria vi. Paschæ)
Dignum et justum est, sanctum et salutare est, nos te gloriosissime Pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi, inenarribilibus triumphis attollere, completisque erga nos promissorum suorum beneficiis, in quantum se mens parvulorum, te inspirante, repleri senserit, propensius conlaudare. Ut cui plus dimissum est amplius diligat, et potiora jam fœdera accumulet qui tanta necdum credenti donavit. Postquam igitur Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis, fecitque prius cuncta quæ docuit, perfectum divinis operibus virum necessariæ nobis sibique voluntariæ tradidit passioni. Ut quemadmodum mundo huic prædicationis suæ claritate effulserat, ne errorum inretitus tenebris fluctuaret, ita etiam infernali carcere mancipatis sua resolvendis descensione succurreret. Neque regnum usque in finem sæculi dilataret. Et spolia quæ quondam pr&aeligdo attraxerat fraudulentus, ad cœlos secum reveheret innocens crucifixus. Et liberaret virtute justitiæ quos humilitatis suæ redemerat passione. Emisso itaque spiritu, et paternis, ut scriptum est, manibus commendato, hospitium divinitatis immensæ quem virginea conceperant atque ediderant viscera, virgo interim sepultura suscepit. Sed mansit illic nihilominus incorruptus, quia non fuerat ex Adam nati seminis corruptione conceptus. Judæis quoque petentibus, custodes monumento deputantur a Præside, quorum testimonio et fides firmaretur credentium, et confunderetur impietas perfidorum. Quid enim illi obesse potuit humana custodia, cui et dum requiesceret cœleste vigilavit excubium, et cum resurgeret Deus inerat Verbum? Quod immaculatæ animæ inseparabiliter copulatum adiit, exterruit, subjecit, et domuit, et vinxit cunctas hujus aeris in lacu novissimo potestates. Illic mors hebetata contremuit, seseque peremtam acrius quam stimulaverat sensit. Quæque se humani generis dominam lætitabat, ancillam mox crucis affectam Christo triumphante lugebat. Fracta est confestim virtus sæva carnificum, et ad nihilum redacta est exhausta grassatio cruentorum. Inclinata est harum tenebrarum Christi humilitate superbia, et diabolica malitia divini Agni est simplicitate restincta. Amisit e manibus subito quod se crudelissimus hostis credebat perpetim possessurum, cernens humanum genus per hominem Deum paradiso, unde prævaricatione Adæ eliminatum fuerat, restitutum.

 It is meet and just, holy and available to salvation, that, with loudest acclamations of triumph, we should extol thee, O ever-glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! and, now that he has fulfilled all his promises of mercy towards us, should praise thee with all the fervour which the human mind is capable of feeling, aided by thine inspiration. He to whom more has been forgiven should love more; and he who bestowed his gifts upon us when we did not as yet believe, increased the obligations we have to serve him. Therefore, after that the Word had been made Flesh, and had dwelt amongst us, and had practiced all that he had taught, he, the perfect Man, perfect by his divine works, gave himself to the Passion, necessary, indeed, for us, but, on his part, voluntary. He enlightened the world by the brightness of his preaching, lest, being a prey to darkness, it might be tossed to and fro. So, to, he descended into the prison of Limbo, that he might set its captives free; for he would not defer his kingdom to the end of the world: therefore, the victims, dragged down by the crafty enemy, were raised up to heaven by the innocent Crucified. He would set free, by the right of justice, those whom he redeemed by the humility of his Passion. He had given up the ghost, and, as it is written, commended it into his Father’s hands, a virgin-tomb received the divine guest that a virgin-womb had conceived and brought forth. Corruption came not nigh to him whilst lying in the grave, because he was conceived without contracting the corruption of Adam’s sin. The Jews obtained of Pilate that he would place guards at the Sepulchre, whose testimony was afterwards to confirm the faith of believers, and confound the impiety of the wicked. For what obstacle could human vigilance be to him, who, whilst he lay in the tomb, had angels keeping watch over him; and who, when he rose, rose because he was God, the Word? Yea, the Word, which had been inseparably united to the Soul, was there in the Body also: it terrified, it subjected, it tamed, it tied fast down in deepest hell, all the powers of this air. Then did Death tremble, for its sting was blunted; and its own death was sharper than any it had ever made others feel. It had boasted of being lord of mankind; but, when Christ triumphed, it had to wail itself a slave of the Cross. Straightway was broken the power of the cruel executioners, and the violent rioting of the bloodthirsty was brought to an end. The pride of the spirits of darkness was brought down by the humility of Christ, and the malice of the devil was crushed by the simplicity of the Lamb. The most cruel enemy saw fall from his hands what he thought was his eternal possession; he saw mankind restored, by the Man-God, to the Paradise, whence it had been banished by Adam’s sin.
Fr. Hewko: Good Shepherd Sunday [May 5, 2019] - "Archbishop Lefebvre, a Good Shepherd of the Good Shepherd!"

Fr. Hewko: Good Shepherd Sunday [April 26, 2020] - "Pray For All Priests!"

Good Shepherd Sunday

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"I am the Good Shepherd."--John 10.

In today's Gospel Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and well does the title become Him. Many other names are given to our Lord in Holy Writ. He is called "God" and "Lord," the "Father of the Family," the "Promised Messiah," the "Saviour and Redeemer of His People." That He deserves them all, every well-instructed Christian readily understands; for He is, indeed, both God and Lord the Father of the family, which, as Messiah, He has redeemed and saved.

One name, however, is especially applicable to Him, that of the "Good Shepherd." Christ calls Himself, emphatically, the Good Shepherd; and it is profitable for us to consider what this title of Christ means, as the elect are frequently typified by our Lord and His Prophets as sheep. The more clearly, then, we realize what the shepherd is to the sheep, the more ready and willing shall we be to follow Christ, our Good Shepherd, as His faithful sheep. Let its, therefore, today consider Christ as the Good Shepherd, and reflect on the qualities that entitle Him to this appellation.

Mary, thou who art next to Christ, the Good Shepherdess of His flock, thou zealous and first follower of the Lord, pray for us, that thy divine Son may acknowledge us as His sheep, and may be to us a Good Shepherd our Redeemer, our Lord! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, for the greater glory of God!

Christ calls Himself the Good Shepherd, and such indeed He is. To prove this, we need only think of the attributes which Christ mentions as belonging to a good shepherd. The first of these is: "To know his sheep." Every good shepherd, of course, knows his sheep; but none know their flock so well as Christ knows His. Even the most careful shepherd is not always able to recognize a sheep that has strayed from the flock, so that he may lead it back to the fold. Christ, however, as Good Shepherd, knows every human soul which He redeemed, and knows it better than the soul knows itself He knows every one. He knows the thoughts, the words, the wishes, and the actions of each all his good and all his evil inclinations. He has a thorough and complete knowledge of each and every man.

A good shepherd calls his sheep, that they may remain near him, and not stray away from the flock and the good pasture; and the sheep know His voice. How perfectly Christ possesses all the qualifications of a Good Shepherd! An inner and an outer voice is continually calling us. He admonishes, instructs and guides us by His voice. We hear it in the depth of our heart, through the inspirations of His grace, and we hear it, too, in the admonitions and warnings of those whom He has installed as His vicars upon earth.

Happy are we it we listen to this voice, if we follow it, and avoid the dangers which threaten our salvation! Happy are we if, when tempted, we make use of all those means of evading the persecutions of Satan which Christ points out to us! The good shepherd loves his sheep, and goes before them. How admirably our Lord fullills this duty to us! "I am the way," He cries to us, "follow Me." "I am the Truth and the Life."

The path of virtue and perfection lies before us, glorious in the light ot our Lord's example an example of the perfect fulfillment of the great commandment of loving God above all things and one's neighbor as one's self. If we but follow the voice of Christ, it will guide us in the way of salvation, into the best, the most nourishing of meadows, which is His Holy Word--the instructions and the graces which He imparts to us through His Church. How refreshing, strengthening and delicious is this pasture! Nor is this all; but He does for us what no other shepherd does for his sheep, He sacrifices Himself for us, and nourishes its, soul and body, with His sacramental flesh and blood.

What a Good Shepherd! And, to accomplish this, what does He do for each one of us? He not only leads us by His almighty power and goodness towards heaven, but He also offers Himself up daily for us all in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "A good shepherd," says our Lord, "protects his sheep." And Christ promised His powerful protection to His Church, which is the flock of the Good Shepherd, when He said: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against her;" nor shall they prevail against any of His children who make use of those weapons and means of salvation which He intrusted to them.

Yes, the most holy name of Jesus alone protects us triumphantly in every danger that threatens our salvation, for no one shall be conquered or lost who pronounces with confidence this holy Name, and with it calls for help. For, to protect and save us, Jesus gave His life, and the last drop of His blood. This Christ did for us His children, His sheep. Never has an earthly shepherd done a work like this; never could it have been done. Where was there ever found a shepherd who was wounded and slain for his sheep? Yet Christ was wounded and slain for us! "He has delivered Himself for me," can every soul exclaim gratefully and lovingly with St. Paul? For me, He was born one cold winter's night; for me, He fled into Egypt; for me, He remained working in Nazareth; for me, He bore all the toils of His apostolic life; for me, He was scorned, scourged and crucified! What a Good Shepherd!

A good shepherd guards his sheep; but still, at the last, every sheep becomes the prey of death. Christ, the Good Shepherd, calls to us: "He that believeth in Me, although he be dead, shall live." Death, since Christ has redeemed us, is no longer to us what death is to a sheep, namely, destruction. No; through Christ, the Lamb of God, sacrificed for us, we have a right to exclaim: "O death! where is thy sting?"

Oh, the goodness our Shepherd shows to us, especially if we consider the relationship in which this Good Shepherd stands to us! As Shepherd, He is at the same time our Father, who has made us children of God. He is our Brother, and a Brother who has taken to Himself our nature, and elevated it above the choirs of angels. He is our Friend, and what a Friend! He gave His life for us! He is our King, and how generous, how wise, how grand a Monarch, who will place us all on thrones! He is our Bridegroom, and what a union awaits us with Him in the joys of heaven!

Let us follow Him like good sheep, that He may lead us into the fields and meadows of Paradise! Amen!

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"My sheep know Me, and hear My voice."--John 10.

No one doubts that Christ has the right of calling Himself our Good Shepherd, since the qualities which He mentions, when speaking of the good shepherd, are strikingly apparent in Himself. But is it qually clear that we are His sheep? Do we bear the marks which Christ gives us to recognize His sheep? How many, alas! of those who, because they have been baptized and educated in the bosom of the Church, style themselves Catholics, deserve that reproach of Christ, which we find in the Apocalypse: "Thou hast the name of being alive, and thou art dead "(3 - 1).

Reflecting on the marks by which Christ distinguished His sheep, and listening to the secret revelations of our own consciences, let each one examine and see if, perhaps, this reproof of Christ be not directed to himself. In this manner will each one be able to determine whether he belongs or not to the fold of Christ, the Good Shepherd. What, then, are the marks which, according to the words of Christ, distinguish the true sheep of the fold? I will point them out to you today.

O Mary, devotion to thee is one of the signs by which the true sheep of Christ's fold are recognized, pray for us, that we may receive the grace not only to be called Catholics, but also to live a Catholic life! I speak in the most holy name of Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

In the words: "My sheep know Me," we have the first sign by which Christ describes His sheep. In how few of the many who call themselves children of the Catholic Church can we trace this sign in its full and comprehensive significance? There are multitudes who believe in Jesus Christ, and outwardly fulfill their duties as children of the Church, and yet are strangers to that intimate knowledge which their close relationship with Christ, as souls redeemed by Him, naturally supposes. How many, who, though baptized, live like children of the world, without further instruction, and know Jesus only in name!

They know Him as the Redeemer and Saviour of mankind, but are grossly ignorant of the beneficent and manifold relationship in which He stands to them as the Dispenser of the innumerable blessings of redemption. How many fail to grasp the meaning of the words: "Jesus our Father!" Ah, how loving a Father! It is He that restored to us the glorious birthright of the children of God, which we had lost in the fall of Adam and by our own personal sins, thus becoming children of Satan instead of children of God.

How many understand not the meaning of the words: "Jesus our Lord and King!" and fail to appreciate the happiness of being His subjects, soldiers of the Church militant, fighting valiantly under her standard, and strong in the hope of reigning one day with Christ, the "King of kings!" How many fathom not the meaning of the words: "Jesus our Brother!" Through the mystery of the Incarnation, Christ has become in very deed our Brother! How many consider not the meaning of the words: "Jesus our Friend!" How great a Friend has He not been to us! He has shed the last drop of His blood for us; and we know, according to His own rule, that "greater love no man hath, than that a man lay down his life for his friends!" Finally, as a reward of His friendship, He invites us to share with Him the joys of heaven. How many know not the meaning of the words: "Jesus our Light!" Yet He is "the true Light that enlighteneth every man who corneth into this world." How many ponder not the meaning of the words: "Jesus our Counsel, our Example, our Guide!" Still what a depth of instruction they contain! He is, indeed, our Counsel, our Example, our Guide; and He Himself calls upon us: "Follow Me."

Lastly, how many understand not the meaning of the word: "Jesus our Solace, in all the woes and trials of life; Jesus our Hope; our Strength;--Jesus the Joy of our heart;--our All!" This intimate knowledge of Jesus Christ we secure by prayer, and, especially, by devotion to the blessed Sacrament of the altar. That there is no more effectual means of acquiring a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ than frequent communion with Him present upon our altar, is the testimony of all who have reached that sublime union of which St. Paul speaks, when commending the hidden life through Christ in God.

Therefore, if we consider the lives of the majority of those who call themselves Catholics, how few shall we find among them who can say in the full acceptation of the words: I know Jesus! If we possess this personal knowledge of God, then our lives will be stamped with those other characteristics, which Christ enumerates, when He speaks of the sheep whose Shepherd He is.

He says: "They hear My voice, and follow Me." Doubtless, if our knowledge of Christ be real, it will be inseparable from a desire to please Him, and, hence, to know and fulfill His will. Is that your case?--"They hear My voice, and follow Me." How certain, how characteristic a sign of the true sheep, the true follower of Christ!

In order to understand the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, and to hear and follow the voice of Jesus, we must not only be thoroughly in earnest and filled with a great longing to do His holy will, but we must also be animated with that loving confidence, which is so well symbolized by the sheep following the voice of the shepherd and crowding around him. They hear My voice, and follow Me with true self-abnegation, perseverance and love of the cross, upon the path which I walk before them.

The true sheep of the flock of Christ flee all the occasions of sin, and dread losing sight of Him. They are watchful, and seek the protection of their Shepherd at the slightest approach of danger. The real sheep of the fold of Christ understand how to use those means which He bequeathed to His Church, in order to heal the wounds her children may have received from the wolves of the spiritual life, and they know, moreover, how to guard themselves against new attacks.

As this trait of being with Christ is distinctive of His sheep, so, too, is that abhorrence they experience for those hirelings who seek to corrupt them, and for the wolves of sinful inclinations, which threaten to tear them to pieces. Christ as the Good Shepherd protects them by His gracious providence, and they follow Him as predestined souls towards the pasture-lands of eternal life ! Amen !

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"And other sheep I have that are not of this fold, them also I must bring."--John 10

In today's Gospel, Christ, the Good Shepherd, calls mankind, redeemed and saved by Him, His sheep, and points out several characteristic signs by which they may be known. He says: "They know Me," not only as far as His voice is concerned, but in all those relations in which He stands to them as their God and Redeemer. My sheep both inwardly and outwardly hear My voice, outwardly, in the teaching of My Church; inwardly, through the inspirations of My grace. They follow Me by the imitation of My virtues; and I lead them unto eternal life.

There is, however, still another sign which distinguishes His true sheep, and this one is the most im portant and the surest. Christ does not indeed point to it emphatically, yet it stands sufficiently prominent to remind us, in a forcible manner, of our duty as Christians of assisting Him with zeal, in order that He may have the joy of bringing other sheep, such as do not yet know Him, into His fold, for He says: "And other sheep I have, them also I must bring."

We must endeavor to do all that lies in our power, to convert and save unbelievers and sinners. O Mary, Mother of the Redeemer, thou who desirest the salvation of mankind with all the power of thy motherly love, grant us thy blessing, that we may be instrumental in leading souls to heaven! I speak in the most holy name ot Jesus, to the greater glory of God!

"And other sheep I have, that are not of this fold, them also I must bring." The greatness of this desire of Jesus, and the earnestness with which He wishes our co-operation, become clear to us when we consider why He came into the world and shed His blood for us; why He sent His Apostles throughout the world ; why He instituted his Church, and remains with her until the end of time. His motive for all this was the earnest wish He had to save souls.

His mission was to save mankind, yet not to force or necessitate this salvation. No! man redeemed by Him must undergo the probation of his liberty in the service of Gocl, if he would win heaven by his merits. Christ desired that all who love God sincerely, should share in the work of redemption, in order that heaven may be truly their own by their voluntary participation of divine grace. And this not only regarded the Apostles whom He sent out as the first Heralds of the Faith, but it is likewise true of all the faithful who, until the end of time, may thus find ample means of winning merits for heaven.

Thus the Apostles and first Christians understood His holy will. "If He sacrificed His blood for each one, says St. John to the early Christians, "each one of us should be ready to shed his blood, were it demanded, for the salvation of his neighbor." And, indeed, as history abundantly testifies, the Christians of the first centuries fulfilled this duty with zeal and success, like true and loyal children of holy Church. Every one in his station and calling was an apostle and missionary.

While the priest administered the holy Sacraments in secret to the faithful, the first Christians labored unceasingly to bring other souls to hear the Word of God, and thus win them to the faith of Christ. What the early Christians did it behooves their successors to imitate by seizing every opportunity to labor for the salvation of those who, through irreligion, unbelief, or a sinful life, either have not as yet entered the fold of Christ, or having entered it, have willfully strayed away.

Especially in the time and country in which we live, have the children of the Church a most favorable opportunity of proving themselves, by true apostolic zeal, faithful sheep of the Good Shepherd. But it might be objected, what can I, an ordinary person, do to convert heretics, unbelievers, or sinners, I who am a farmer, an artisan, a merchant, an inn keeper, a soldier?

I answer: Whoever you may be you possess ways and means to aid the Church in the salvation of souls. I will enumerate and classify these ways and means:

First: Live a Catholic life. "So let your light shine before men," says Jesus Christ, "that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."

If every husband and wife, every father and mother were to live according to the maxims of their holy faith, what would be the consequence? The fulfillment of the words of St. Paul: "The husband would sanctify the wife; the wife the husband; both would sanctify their children." How many children, unfortunately, are lost to the Church, either because parents do not fulfill their duties as Catholics, or because children heed not the admonitions of parents, and fail in those duties which devolve upon them as Christian youth!

Live as a Catholic should live; and those who are not Catholics, influenced by your example, will perceive the holiness of the Catholic Church, and little by little will be moved to examine her doctrines and to recognize her truth. What is the great stumbling-block to the irreligious, and what prevents them from entering holy Church? The cause is only too often, the miserable lives of bad Catholics.

I say secondly: Instruction, instruction! Profit by the press. Provide yourself with books of instruction, written to evince the truth of the doctrines of the Catholic Church. This will assist your children in keeping their faith. Procure for yourself a small library and make use of it. Read to your children every day something from the lives of the saints, and other devotional books. Thus you and your children will become thoroughly grounded in your holy faith.

Thirdly: Distribute these books among heretics and unbelievers. These books work more good than many a sermon, which is often, perhaps, only half heard and half understood.

Fourthly: Secure for those that are erring an opportunity of speaking with a priest. Be obliging and kind to them, and pray for them.

Oh, if all the children of the Catholic Church acted in this manner, how many of our erring brethren would become Catholics, and how many souls would be led to enter upon the path of salvation! Make use of these means, especially in this country where no obstacle presents itself, and America may become the land, in which are fulfilled those words of Christ: "And there shall be one shepherd and one fold." May the inhabitants of this land confess one God and Father in heaven, one only-begotten Son, the Saviour and Redeemer; and upon earth one true and saving religion, the holy Roman Catholic Church, our Mother! Amen!