Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: April 26, Lectionary # 279. Acts 11:1-18. Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3,4.
Poetry cannot and should not be read hastily. Speed reading of it takes
away from its beauty and depth and creative insight. This creative element
of the poet is precisely the ability to capture the attention and move the
mind and heart of the reader. Often it leaves us spellbound and
appreciative of the genius of the one who wrote it. We need to take time
to experience it, savor it, and enjoy it. This is part of true leisure. So
it is with the Scriptures. By taking the time to mull them over, to
meditate and pray them, and to study them gives us the joy of discovering
the depth of meaning that is there for us. Though written so long ago, the
texts inspire us and help us to pray and thank God for another day to enjoy
them and their challenge to us.
In today’s Gospel we discover that Jesus is using figures of speech to
speak to us about who he is for us–those who believe in him. He develops
his message while using the imagery of shepherding. He is the Good
Shepherd, he is the gate of the sheepfold, he is the protector and guardian
of all his flock and he knows each one by name and they, in turn, hear the
sound he has for them when he calls. Even the wayward sheep will be sought
after, pursued, and brought back to where they first found rest and
nourishment. Unfortunately, many who opposed Jesus did not enjoy or learn
from such imaginative language. They did not listen or hear their name and
grasp the meaning of their being called by the Good Shepherd.
Jesus understands this problem for some of the flock so he then speaks in
plain and literal way so that they may possibly listen and understand.
Common sense should ordinarily reach a listener. He tells them, “Thieves
come only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they (the sheep,
ourselves, the opponents) might have life and have it more abundantly.”
Again we are called to take time for praying the Scriptures and meditating
upon them. This takes time and a quiet or sacred space in a chapel or our
room. Then the images, the parables, the figures of speech that Jesus and
the Prophets give us slowly become a part of our spiritual nourishment and
enjoyment. God’s revelatory words are spirit and life for us. We may
learn more about what we are hearing or reading by doing what we do when we
read a poem and fathom its meaning. Let us give it a try this day. Amen.