What’s in That Prayer? The Collect for Good Shepherd Sunday

This year, by a liturgical concurrence of the annual and sanctoral cycles, today’s Sunday propers are replaced by those of the Feast of Saint Joseph Worker. Still, because of the commemoration of the Sunday, its collect must be prayed in the Holy Mass and Office. Here, then, is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office for the Second Sunday after Easter, which is also known as Good Shepherd Sunday:

Deus, qui in Fílii tui humilitáte iacéntem mundum erexísti: fidélibus tuis perpétuam concéde lætítiam; ut, quos perpétuæ mortis eripuísti cásibus, gaudiis fácias pérfrui sempitérnis.

Here is my translation:

God, who, by the humility of Thy Son hast raised up a downcast world: grant perpetual joy to Thy faithful, that those whom Thou hast plucked out of the misfortunes of perpetual death, Thou mayest also make to rejoice with sempiternal joys.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O God, who, by the humility of Thy Son, didst lift up a fallen world, grant unending happiness to Thy faithful: that those whom Thou hast snatched from the perils of endless death, Thou mayest cause to rejoice in everlasting days.

The Epistle (1 Pet. 2:21-25) and Gospel (John 10: 11-16) for Good Shepherd Sunday are complementary. The former, using the words of Isaias the Prophet, speaks of the atoning Passion of Jesus, “by whose stripes you were healed”: This is the “humility” mentioned in today’s oration by which the downcast world was raised up. Saint Peter concludes with these words: “For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls.”

In His discourse recorded in John 10, Jesus twice gives Himself the name attached to today’s Mass: “I am the good shepherd.” In the context, He is speaking after the Jews had cast the man born blind out of the Synagogue — that man whom Jesus Himself had cured of his blindness. Our Good Shepherd is contrasting Himself with the “hirelings” of the Synagogue who have excommunicated this innocent lamb. In both the Old and New Testaments, God’s people are spoken of as a “flock,” so the words of Our Savior would have stung the ears of His enemies. He goes further though; the passage concludes with mention of the “other sheep” that are not “of this fold,” clearly pointing the way to the union of Jew and Gentile in His one sheepfold, which is His Catholic Church. This arrangement was unacceptable to the Pharisees, who did not want to lose their perceived monopoly on the true religion in favor of the detested Gentiles. (Thus, later in the chapter, His enemies declare, “He hath a devil, and is mad: why hear you him?” [John 10:20])

By His Passion, still fresh in our memories from Good Friday, Jesus came down to lift up a fallen world. He did not flee from the wolf, but confronted the ancient Adversary, dying an atoning victim as a meek Lamb but rising again as the fierce Lion of the Tribe of Juda. Thus did He snatch us from perpetual death. And now it ought to be a source of everlasting joy to us that being converted to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, we both know Jesus Christ as our Good Shepherd and are known by Him as his sheep.

A continued blessed Paschaltide to all!