Daily Scriptures Reflection for 4/29/12

Scripture: Lectionary #51. 4/29/12. Good Shepherd Sunday. Acts 4:8-12.
Psalm 118:1.8-921-23.26.21.29. I John 3:1-2. John 10:11-18:

Sunday’s Readings 

This Sunday, the Fourth Sunday after Easter, is a celebration of Jesus
Christ as the Good Shepherd. The Gospel of John dedicates the entire
chapter ten to this theme emphasizing the different roles of the
Shepherd. Today, we look more at the relationship of the shepherd to
the sheep and the sheep to the shepherd. We need to lay aside our
contemporary images and reluctances about this image given to us by
the Fourth Gospel’s inspired author. Seeing it in the context of the
entire chapter as well as surrounded by the Psalm Response and the
First and Second Reading we can come to appreciate the image as having
a very deep message for us.

The Psalm speaks of the “keystone” rejected by the builders becomes
the chief living stone for the believers. A keystone is the one that
holds the other stones together whether it be the foundational stone
at right angles to a corner of a building or the top central stone
within an arch. The image comes from a psalm that is a national
celebration psalm. This was taken up by the early Christians as one of
the most cited of psalms in the New Testament as well as one that is
frequently recalled during this Easter Season. We see Jesus as the
keystone and the exemplary pastor in the readings from John and from
this excellent psalm 118. It is especially the final ten verses of it
that are heard often during this time of joy, peace, and exultation at
the event of Jesus’ rising from the dead.

Our Evangelist does not give us a parable in relating this story and
image of who Christ is for the community of John, the Beloved
Disciple. Rather than the translation of Good alone with Shepherd, we
must see it as an example story thus Jesus is the exemplary model for
being a pastor, a shepherd, for those who follow him. We transfer the
image from the world of sentient animals to that of rational
beings—humans like we are. We are called to be shepherds ,that is,
leaders who help those who are in need of being led and educated to
listen carefully to the one who brings them to a resting place of
peace and nourishment.

We learn that like Jesus we are to be in control of our lives so as to
lay them down for the good of others. As Shepherd he did this for the
universal mission he had—he has other sheep that are not of the one
fold that he is now watching. These too must be led to join the flock
through his care, concern, and love for all of us. His heart is always
ready to protect those who are being educated to hear the voice of
Jesus—especially children and orphans and the poor. These are often
fragile and weak. They need excellent leaders and teachers and that is
our mission to be pastors in this world. The word is universal not
only for “pastoral ministers” of a structural church. We are to be
exemplary models of who Jesus is as shepherd. He speaks of his being
this while sharing his relationship with the Father. This relationship
is then extended to others seen in the image of the sheep. All are
called to be other Christs, other exemplary shepherds. We grow into
this call from being sheep to becoming shepherds. It is a maturing
process in the life of a Christian dedicated to bringing about the
kingdom of God.

The second part of the chapter is dedicated to this more personal
relationship dimension in the life of the exemplary shepherd to his
sheep. Listening, recognizing the living voice of Jesus is brought
about by our following him wherever he goes and leads us. Verdant
pastures lie ahead for us as we are not only following this exemplary
shepherd but actually participating in his very life through the
sacraments of Easter—Baptsim and the Eucharist. We follow, we
listen, we are attentive, we feel his concern and care for us. We
come to realize he is the exemplary model for leadership and mission.
Peace, joy, and exultation are ours when we become like him. Amen.
Alleluia. Alleluia.

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