for Sunday, April 26, 2015
This Fourth Sunday of Easter is always focused on the Good Shepherd. This focus helps us understand our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, because He loves us and has given up His life for us.
In the Acts of the Apostles today, we hear Saint Peter still arguing with the leaders of the Jewish people of his time. The reason for this argument is that the leaders of the people want the followers of Jesus to quit proclaiming Him as God, to quit doing miracles and to stop drawing others into this early Christian movement. Better than this opposition is the advice of Gamaliel in the Gospel: if this work is of only human origin, it will come to nothing. If it is from God, then nothing can stop it. We human tend to argue rather than to wait. On the other hand, you and I live in a time distant from the beginnings and can see that the followers of Christ were successful in spite of persecutions.
But what is success? Does it mean that we now have a Christian world? If that is the criterion, we live a grand failure! Does it mean that Christians have power? Again, if that is the criterion, we live another grand failure! If the criterion is the conversion of hearts to God, then there is some moderate success in every age.
The First Letter of John reminds us that we are children of God. The author is not sure what that will mean and neither do we know. Yet we know that it is about God's love for us and invites our response to that love.
The Gospel today, from Saint John, is about the Good Shepherd. Jesus is not afraid to call Himself the Good Shepherd. He is the one who lays down His life for us. How easily we forget that. Instead we begin to look for our own advantage rather than looking for how we can join our lives to that of Jesus and share in His love for our world.
Easter is about joy and gladness and salvation - coming because Jesus rose from the dead after He died for us. We marvel at the Resurrection because, like those early followers, we find it difficult to believe that someone could die for us, and really die! Even more difficult to believe is that Jesus rose from the dead. All of this is difficult only if we do not believe that Jesus is Lord and God for us all.
You and I are invited in this time of Easter to renew our personal relationship with Jesus. We are invited to deepen our knowledge of all that happened in Him and through Him. We are invited to walk with Jesus on the Way and give our lives for others. Christ is risen, alleluia! May we be one with Him.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Acts 4.7-12
Second Reading: 1 John 3.1-2
Gospel: John 10.11-18
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: