4 th Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Peter 2:20b-25; John 10:1-10
May the Words of the Sacred Scriptures we have heard today wipe away our
sins. The apostle Peter was filled with the transforming love of God and knew the
indwelling presence of the life-creating Spirit. When God raised Christ from the dead he
anointed him as Lord and Messiah. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is proof that God’s
love is stronger than sin and death. In this hope, we live and move and have our being.
At the end of the night comes the dawning of a new day. After the all-consuming
darkness of anxiety and doubt, we have only to look to the east and look for the signs of
a new day. This promised newness springs up in the night of a world faced with epochal
challenges and oppressed by a global pandemic.
Our lives of faith are based on a promise we have heard even though we do not
have visible signs of assurance. Because Christ conquered death by dying, we can face
any challenge knowing that in Him we are more than conquerors. Jesus’ resurrection is
in this sense the source of the faith that is the grounds of our justification. Christ's
resurrection transformed the curse of death into the blessing of everlasting life. Christ
makes the Father’s love for the human race visible and tangible. His death and
sufferings should be, not for him only, but for all who believe in him, the entrance to
eternal life. As Christ took our sufferings to himself, we must be willing to open our
hearts to the sufferings of others. As Christ forgave our sins, we must be willing to
forgive those who hurt us.
The Risen Lord offers peace to each of us, a peace that will abide with us no
matter what challenges confront us. The Good Shepherd leads us to graze in lush
green pastures. Let us not merely pass through them like sightseers. Rather, like the
flock of Christ let us make them our resting place and the source of our joy. Having
heard the voice of the shepherd, let us respond wholeheartedly. The consolations of the
Holy Spirit are the still waters where the shepherd of our souls refreshes us. He who
endured the desolation of the cross heals the brokenhearted and binds up all their
wounds (CF. Ps. 147:3). He was numbered among the outcasts so that they might be
found. “He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to his heart” (Is.
40:11). Christ was bruised and crucified as a sacrifice for our sins, and by his stripes,
our diseased souls are cured.
When an individual accepts Christ as Lord and master of his soul, his whole
being is transformed by the mind of Christ. He will see the world differently and will seek
to heal the world’s ills as a disciple of Christ. The good Shepherd knows those he has
chosen, and they know Him and surrender to his loving care for them. Christ died so
that we might live. He handed himself over for us so that we might obtain freedom from
the punishment of sin and pardon of all our guilt. Because of his great love for us, Christ
has become the sheep gate through whom we have access to the sheepfold. To those
who question, which way shall they should go and whom they should follow, Jesus
answers: “I am the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn. 14:6). Yes, my brothers,
Christ our hope has truly risen. He has become for us the path to eternal life.
He has prepared a place for us alongside him close to the Father’s heart.
The resurrection of Christ is the victory of love over evil, a victory that does not
“by-pass” suffering and death, but passes through them, opening a path in the abyss,
overcoming evil with good. The Risen Lord is the Crucified One. He identifies himself to
his disciples by showing them his hands, feet, and side. By the power of the
resurrection, His wounds become windows of hope. Lifted up on the cross and raised
from the dead, Jesus draws all people to himself. Our very existence depends on the
watchful care of the Shepherd whose voice echoes in the core of our being. Our
Shepherd Jesus isn’t just a leader of some flock: we are not just part of some crowd.
“He made us and we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture” (Ps.
100:3). The Good Shepherd knows us “by name.” When we respond to his call, we not
only come to know the living God, we also come to know ourselves as we are known.
During this time of anxiety and uncertainty, let us place ourselves in the hands of
the Good Shepherd who is strong enough to save us. Because we are moving in
unfamiliar territory, we will need the light of the Holy Spirit to direct our path. Only by
being attentive to the voice of the Shepherd, we will learn to collaborate honestly and
openly with our companions on the way. By choosing to live in solidarity with one
another we can become channels of the new life that Christ wishes to generate in us.
Let us not be afraid to live the alternative culture of love. This culture that has been
touched by the glory of the Risen Lord is a culture of hope that confounds anxiety and
fear, sadness, and fatigue. The Lord is waiting for us to surrender our frail wounded
humanity to him so that he can be our strength and can show us his boundless love.
Standing in the gaze of divine love we will come to know how precious we are
especially in our weakness and vulnerability.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people feel unsettled and anxious. Because
of the uncertainty surrounding the illness, many have lost all sense of security. Most of
us know people who have tested positive, and some who have died as a result of
complications due to the virus. All of us have felt the strain of social distancing. It is at
this time, most of all that we need to encounter the Good Shepherd. We need to ponder
the Scriptures with the eyes of faith, only then will we feel the warmth of God’s loving
embrace. We need to listen to the Scriptures with the ears of our heart, only then will we
hear the voice of the Master: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I
will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). As people of faith, we love him even though we do not
see him. As members of the Body of Christ we rejoice with a great joy that has been
touched with glory, a glory no words can express. Pope Francis wrote. “We become
what we go towards. Let us choose the way of God, not of the self… We will discover
that there are no unexpected events, no uphill path, and no night that cannot be faced
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