Scripture: Lectionary # 279. Acts 11:1-18. Psalm 42:2-3;43:3.4. John
10:1-10 or John 10: 11-8
Yesterday’s Gospel, the Fourth Sunday in Easter (A), continues today with
the option to choose John 10:11-18 which also continues the development of
Jesus’ example or model for an excellent (kalos) shepherd. We deepen our
knowledge of who Jesus is by reflecting again on the theme of the excellent
shepherd. The loving care and protection is reiterated as we see the
example developing in the living words of Jesus who is the Shepherd of our
The alternative reading offers us the relationship of Jesus as our Shepherd
while developing his relationship to his Father and ours. The extent of
the Shepherd’s concern moves from his own to other sheep who are not of his
fold, but whom he wishes to be united with so that there is one shepherd
and one flock. Both the People of God–the Jews and Jesus’ own people are
the flock but the Gentiles are invited to be one with the People of God.
Matthew had emphasized that Jesus had come only to the lost sheep of
Israel, but Luke and John extend his loving care to all peoples who are
named as the “Nations or Gentiles.”
The Gospel is thus united with the first line that we have in the reading
from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 11:1): “The Apostles and the brothers
heard that the Gentiles too had accepted the word of God.” This first line
is confirmed and framed by the last line: “If this be so, then God has
granted life-giving repentance even to the Gentiles.”(Acts 11:18).
Listening to the living voice of Jesus is what the flock does. We hear his
voice and follow him and if we stray he searches for us, calls us back, and
then carries us into the sheepfold. Being together as brothers and sisters
without hate and loss is what Jesus the excellent shepherd wants of us.
“There shall be one flock then, one shepherd. Amen. Alleuluia.