FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Good Shepherd Sunday
22nd April 2018
What is the motivation of our life? Are we living simply to get what we can out of life, to make us happy without considering anyone else, or are we seeking to give what we can in the service of others, whatever the cost to ourselves? I suspect that most of us fall between these two extremes, endeavouring to strike a balance. But today’s social media can be so invasive of our privacy that we are tempted to withdraw. Our first instinct is to be suspicious of others before we can trust them.
Jesus contrasts the good shepherd, who knows each of his sheep by name and is prepared to lay down his life for them, with the hired man who is only concerned for the money he can earn for himself. The readiness to treat others as objects to advance our own interests is frighteningly prevalent, and the breakdown of society is its fruit. But Jesus proposes a radical reversal of this policy. Modelled on the total oneness of his relationship with the Father, Jesus entrusts himself to us, even unto death, and invites us to make the same absolute commitment to him and to one another. “I trust my own and my own trust me, just as the Father trusts me and I trust the Father” (John 10:14-15).
Belonging to the Church is not a cosy option. Christians are not a holy huddle of like-minded do-gooders, fending off the hostile world. Jesus reminds us that there are other sheep who are beyond our limited horizon, and he is equally concerned for them, desiring a more diverse Christian community than we realise. Tempted to withdraw? Sinners, prostitutes and tax collectors are welcome to apply.
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