Our Lady Queen of Heaven
Catholic Church, Harwich, Essex

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Sunday of Easter 21 and 28 April and 5 May 2024

Fourth Sunday (John 10:11-18)

Jesus is the good shepherd who gives his very life for his sheep. His knowledge of them, his familiarity with them as he enfolds them in his loving care, reflects the close relationship between the Father and the Son. The flock of Jesus Christ is not composed only of those who were first called. The unity of all the children of God is the goal of his coming and of his saving death and resurrection. In doing the Father’s will he shows the power of his love, which is fully displayed in his rising to new life. The Good Shepherd is risen indeed and shares his new life with us.

Do I value my place in the lock of the good shepherd?

Do I do what I can to attract others to receive new life from the Risen Lord?

Let us pray for all pastors of the Church that they may truly imitate the Good Shepherd.

Let us pray that all those called to priesthood may respond with courage and generosity.


Fifth Sunday of Easter (John 15:1-8)

The Gospel of John provides us with rich material for reflection on what Christ has done for us through his death and resurrection.

The image of the vine is particularly effective because the branches cannot live without their attachment to the vine, neither can they be fruitful without the goodness provided by the vine. To live with Christ is to bear fruit. It is in drawing strength from Jesus that Christians can bear fruit in faith and good works.

The image of the vine also has its negative side. Branches which do not bear fruit are removed by the vinedresser and burnt. This development of this image invites us to consider the consequences of a refusal to be nourished by the kindness of God.

It is only in connection with the people of Christ that we can truly be part of the vine. Through his resurrection Christ gives life to a new people.

How can you derive more strength from the vine which is Christ?

How important do you consider it is to belong to the vine of Christ?

We pray for hose who see faith as an individual pursuit.

We pray for a deeper sense of belonging in Christ.


Sixth Sunday of Easter (John 15:9-17)

We listen to the farewell teaching of Jesus to his friends on the night before he died. Jesus speaks of the love that the Father has for him. This same love he bestows on his disciples. Through discipleship they are bound not only to Jesus but to the Father.

This belonging to the Son and to the Father is the cause of great joy. Jesus foresees that the joy of resurrection, the joy of seeing his triumph over sin and death, will abide with the disciples.

The love of which Jesus speaks is a love ready to lay down one’s life for others, the love of the Good Shepherd defencing his sheep.

Being drawn closer to Christ means an increasing closeness to the Father. We are chosen and commissioned to go out and bear fruit.

Does the love I show really reflect the self-giving love of Christ?

Have I really accepted that Jesus has chosen and commissioned me for a specific work?

We pray for those who see love as self-centred.

We pray for generosity and courage in our response to Christ.                        Fr Adrian Graffy