Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday May 10 Jesus is Our Good Shepherd

(A biblical reflection on THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (Year A], 11 May 2014)
Gospel Reading: John 10:1-10
First Reading: Acts 2:14a,36-41; Psalms: Psalam 23:1-6; Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20b-25
gb-23The Scripture Text
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber; but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of the strangers.” This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what He was saying to them.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. I am the door, if any one enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:1-10 RSV)
Jesus, the crucified one, has been raised up, exalted at the right hand of God (Acts 2:22-28). These were the words of assurance that Peter gave the crowd that gathered on the first Christian Pentecost. Like those first believers, we too can be cut to the heart as we welcome the outpoured Spirit to move us in repentance and faith to accept the life that Jesus offers. He who “committed no sin” (1 Peter 2:22) chose, out of love for us and obedience to His Father, to bear the guilt of our sin so that we might receive new life in Him.
gb-4How could God’s love, care and protection for His people be more adequately described than by the figure of a shepherd? It was an image common to the Old Testament, drawn from pastoral life but having a particular reference to the deliverance that the Jewish people experienced during the Exodus. Now, in the age of the Church, Jesus is the Good Shepherd: the new Moses who is God’s provision for a wandering people. “For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25). He has come to bring life in abundance to each one of us (John 10:10). While the world offers many options that promise “life” – the pursuit of which ultimately brings disappointment and emptiness – Jesus offers an eternal life that brings us into unity with the divine life of the Trinity.
Any image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd which does not embrace the sacrificial dimensions of shepherding falls short of how Jesus understood His mission. Jesus confronted life and death, sacrificial issues that ended in His crucifixion. He was the true Shepherd because He laid down His life for us. His love is personal and intimate, and He calls each of us by name (John 10:3). In love, He sought the one who strayed and rejoiced when it was found (Luke 15:4-7).
Amidst the clamor of false claimants, those who hunger for His life will recognize His voice. Every disciple who follows Him is empowered by grace to live the same life as Jesus. We will strengthened in the daily struggle of resisting sin as we turn to the sinless one who not only leads us into abundant life, but is also the door – the way into that life.
Prayer: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. In verdant pastures He gives me repose. Beside restful waters He leads me; He refreshes my soul. He guides me in right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for You are at my side. With Your rod and Your staff that give me courage. You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come (Psalm 23 NAB). Amen.
Jakarta, 9 May 2014
A Christian Pilgrim

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