Monday, April 23, 2012

Gospel text for Sunday 29 April 2012

John 10:11-18
Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away-- and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father."

1 comment:

  1. It was nearly six hundred years before Jesus’ time when the prophet Ezekiel had a series of visions condemning the people of Israel for their ungodly way of life. And Ezekiel called out the shepherds of Israel saying, “You have been feeding yourselves. Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You have not strengthened the weak… healed the sick… brought back the strayed… but with force and harshness you have ruled them.” And the Lord God said, “I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out.” (Ez 34. 2-5,11).

    With the arrival of Jesus the Lord God’s promise was fulfilled. Jesus sought out the outcasts, the sick and the defiled. Jesus strengthened the weak, healed the sick and exercised his authority in love rather than domination. Jesus who not only knew but apparently took to heart the words of the prophet Ezekiel, gave his life to search for and feed the Lord God’s sheep. Jesus exercised his will to give his life for the good of all. Jesus looked evil square in the eye, succumbing neither to defensiveness nor retaliation, because he stood firmly in the power and authority of his relationship with the Lord God.

    Right this minute I feel called out by both Ezekiel and Jesus, called out because more often than not I am concerned about what I am going to have for dinner rather than how I am going to feed my Lord God’s starving sheep. And then my human mentality snaps into action, “Who do you think you are? God or something? After all, you are only human.” That sounds a lot like “the religious officials who wanted to stone Jesus; "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, you are gods.’ If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?’” (Jhn 10.33-36, emphasis added)

    I generally skip to the last sentence in the paragraph above where the emphasis is on Jesus. It is just too hard to swallow the preceding one, ('I called them gods to whom the word of God came…’'), because it implicates me as one of the gods who has received the Word of God. Oh dear. As long as I see Jesus as the exclusive revelation of Divine Presence on earth I can keep myself off the hook. But as soon as I accept my Divine inheritance, as soon as I acknowledge that just as Jesus and the Father are one so am I and Jesus one in the Father, I am implicated. Like Jesus, I am not a victim. I have the power to put my life on the line. I have the power and authority in, of and through my relationship with Jesus to do the works that please Our Father. Help me Jesus to accept my Divine inheritance and act accordingly.