"O God, [you] bestowed the crown of martyrdom on the Bishop St. Adalbert, as he burned with zeal for for souls, grant, we pray, by his prayers, that the obedience of his flock may never fail the shephered, nor the care of the shepherd be ever lacking to the flock.”
(Roman Missal, Common of a Martyr in the Easter season - from American Catholic.org)
"Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture."
John 10:7-9 (Gospel, Monday 4th Week of Easter, Year B)
"Fidelis was defiant: 'The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages. I fear not death.'”
- St. Fidelis, when mob asked him to choose between his Catholic beliefs and his life. (From "Catholic News Agency")
Easter Time: This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it, alleluia!
With the whole Church we rejoice at the resurrection of Christ! The Church celebrates the Easter season or Eastertide. St. Athanasius said “[t]he fifty days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in joy and exultation as one feast day, indeed as one ‘great Sunday’“ (General Norms of the Liturgical Calendar), but the first eight days or octave specifically celebrate the solemnity of Easter every day. (1)
Easter is therefore not a day but a season of 50 days: the octave which is eight days of high celebration beginning on Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday, followed by 42 more days of rejoicing concluding on Pentecost. The atheist philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “If you Christians want me to believe in your Redeemer, you need to look more redeemed!” The recovery of Easter joy is one of the keys not only to our own happiness, but to the new evangelization. A glum, somber Christianity will attract few disciples. (2)
"I am the good shepherd…I will lay down my life for the sheep."
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