Scripture Reflection . . .
Fourth Sunday of Easter
First Reading: Acts 2: 14, 36 – 41
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; There is nothing I shall want.”
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2: 20 – 25
Gospel: John 10: 1-10
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
The Readings for today focus on God as the good shepherd and Jesus the gate to this shepherd. The Shepherd leads us, the sheep, into verdant pastures, beside restful waters; he refreshes our souls and gives us courage; he spreads a table before us and our cups overflow; goodness and kindness follow us (Psalm 23 shares these promises).
The Good Shepherd is characterized as abundance – abundance of life. We are reminded of the parables of the sower who scatters seed generously and recklessly; the mustard seed that grows as big as a tree!; we hear the accounts of Jesus feeding the multitudes; healing people who come to him from all the countryside and villages.
The Good Shepherd holds nothing back so who are we to think God is demanding, critical, condemning; distant, unconcerned with our struggles? In fact “The shepherd call his own sheep by name and leads them out.” (John 10). This is a God who knows our name and who has given us the ability to hear and know this voice. We have a Shepherd who is wounded and “By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2). This Shepherd knows our woundedness and vulnerability because he has been there! This Shepherd is also a sheep – the Lamb of God.
God calls us into fullness of life and Jesus opens this way to us. So we don’t need to listen to the voices that deny the truth of God’s goodness or our own goodness.
No matter how abundant or not are our possessions and resources, no matter the weight of life’s burdens and challenges, we are invited into a depth of joy and fullness of life if we listen to the voice of love – we need have no fear for God is at our side (see Psalm 23).
In Our Lives as Sisters of The Holy Redeemer . . .
We reflect on the abundance of life we have received from Our Redeemer this past week:
On May 1st we began a month long celebration of the mission and spirituality entrusted to us as we gather for prayer services at each ministry site that bears the name “Holy Redeemer” continuing the healing ministry of Jesus. We gather to thank and celebrate all the men and women who have heard the voice of the Shepherd drawing them into this mission.
We rejoiced with one of the Redeemer Ministry Corps volunteers as she passed her GRE and now looks forward to returning to graduate school. We give thanks that she has listened to the voice of the Shepherd who has called her to share her gifts for the good of others.
Speaking of Shepherds – we welcomed the first baby goat to be born among us! We watched in awe as the Creator called one of his creatures into life.
And we celebrated the life of our Sister Anne whose birthday was this past week! Each day she faithfully follows the voice of the Redeemer who is her source of joy and life as she makes house visits to care for and comfort people who are sick and dying.
Several Sisters participated in a fundraiser supporting our ministry of healing and housing for women and their children experiencing homelessness. This ministry that began as the whispering of Spirit, the voice of the Shepherd, has been flourishing for over 30 years!
In Your Life . . .
In the midst of the challenges and struggles of life or the daily routine do you ever wonder if you are following this Good Shepherd or if the Shepherd really cares about his little sheep?
Perhaps you will to take time to be still and listen. Listen to the subtle movements of your thoughts and emotions; listen to the gratitude and gifts of your day; listen to the voices you have heard throughout the day. Which ones spoke of joy, peace, hope, encouragement, truth and which did not? Listen to Psalm 23; Listen to the stillness . . .
What did you hear?
Blessings on your week!