Fourth Sunday of Easter (B)

We are celebrating the fourth Sunday of Easter, the Sunday of the Good Shepherd, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations[1]. To be a disciple of Jesus demands that we respond to every person the same way the Good Shepherd responds to all. Every person possesses the sacred dignity of being a child of God.  Just as, aside from Jesus, every baby born is the most important baby ever born, every person is a unique reflection of the God and deserving of the love and care of the Lord's presence on earth through us[2].

This is the reason why the charity of the Christian must reach beyond his or her own family and friends, beyond the parish family and even beyond the family of citizens of their country. We have to be concerned about those who are hurt, starving, suffering or dying throughout the world. Our charity cannot be limited by anything including the parameters of our faith community.  Blessed Mother Theresa, for example, reached out to the poor of Calcutta and throughout the world. Most of these people were Hindi, not Christian. All of these people are made in the image and likeness of God.

Jesus said, I have other sheep who are not of this fold.  These also I must lead and they will hear my voice. Who was He referring to?  Was he speaking about others outside of his disciples immediate group? Was he speaking about non-Jews, the gentiles who would become fervent Christians? Was He speaking about all good people, searching for Truth?  Or was He simply speaking about all people in the world, all are made in the image and likeness of God?  Well, we have to assume it is the last group. All people belong to God, even those who continually run from Him! There is still time for them to return to Him. They need us to point to where happiness can be found, to point to God and to support their efforts to reach them.  They need us to let them know by our actions that they are part of the Lord’s flock.

It is easy to say that we need to reach out to others, but this is often difficult to do.  Perhaps we all do this.  We might be on the run and totally oblivious to a neighbor who is rather down in the dumps. Usually, it is when you are running from one place to the next, that someone desperately needs your time. Following the Good Shepherd requires our never being too busy to be aware of and to respond to those around us who need help.

My brother, my sister, there is a voice calling to us to jump.  Sometimes the noise of our lives is so loud, that we don’t hear this voice. But the voice is still there. We need to hear it. It is the voice of the Good Shepherd. It is the voice of Jesus speaking to us in the quiet of our hearts, in the love or our family and friends, in the cries of all calling out to us. The voice of the Good Shepherd calls out to us calmly and lovingly.  He tells us to take the jump, the leap of faith.  He tells us to trust in Him because He is taking care of us.

The Good Shepherd is the Risen Lord.  He is with us.  He will never leave us alone.  Today we ask this Lord to allow us to slow down and hear his voice

[2] 4th Sunday of Easter. April 26, 2015. Readings: Acts 4:8-12; Responsorial Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-18.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris