Good Shepherd Sunday 2010
by Reverend Robert Johnnene OFD
Mission Saints Sergius and Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy
The message found in all the readings for the fourth Sunday in Easter have but one message and it is of God's unending love for His children. In the Gospel Christ compares the entire human race to sheep who know their masters voice and respond to it.
The entrance antiphon proclaims "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord; by the word of the Lord the heaven were created, Alleluia"
The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles chapter 13 verses 14 and 43 through 52 and tells the story of Paul and Barnabas's preaching in Antioch in Pisidia. When the Jews in the temple rejected their preaching they then said to them; "We had to proclaim the word of God to you first, but since you have rejected it, since you do not think yourselves worthy of eternal life, we must turn to the pagans, For this is what the Lord commanded us to do when he said: "I have made you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth".
Clearly the message is that the salvation obtained through the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was for the entire human race and not just a chosen few but for every person who welcomes the message and truths preached by Jesus and continued through time by those God called to His service.
Over and over the teachings of the Apostles as written in Holy Scripture proclaim the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ. Over and over we are told of the infinite mercy and love of God for all His children. We are reminded again and again that all good comes from God. The sad part is that we, mere humans, often take God's good gifts and turn them into something bad.
The Gospel reading from John chapter 10, verses 27 through 30 and proclaims the following; "Jesus said:
'The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life;
they will never be lost and no one will ever steal them from me. The Father who gave them to me is greater than anyone, and no one can steal from the Father. The Father and I are one".
Christ has told us that through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit we will learn the truth concerning sin and righteousness. Sin is nothing more than not trusting and believing in God. We have been told that only the ruler of this world, the only true ruler, Almighty God, makes all judgments, not mere mortal men.
In other words any human who claims to make judgments against someone, saying they are condemned to hell, is speaking out of turn and is committing a grievous sin.
a just, loving, merciful and compassionate God who know that we humans are not perfect and are prone to sin but in his infinite mercy he forgives us if we but acknowledge Him and seek forgiveness.
God is more than willing to forgive anyone for their transgressions if they but ask Him.
God's goodness, love, mercy and compassion is unlimited, unconditional and infinite for all who come to Him.
As the Gospel reminds us and this Sunday is called Good Shepherd Sunday because God is like a Good shepherd who seeks out every one of his sheep even those who have become lost.
Christ has instructed us on how we are to live our lives and by His example.
The mercy, love, and compassion of Almighty God is unending and extends to all who believe in Almighty God The Father, The Son, Jesus Christ our redeemer and savior, and The Holy Spirit the enlightener.
To believe is to trust totally in God and accept what He has created and make the most of our lives as He created us.
We need to honor God with prayer, works of charity, compassion, and forgiveness of the wrongs others commit against us, and extend love toward all of God's children regardless of their race, nationality or sexual orientation as Christ did to all he encountered when he walked this earth.
We especially have to extend love and forgiveness to all those who hurt us by their actions and words and we need to pray for them. Christ forgave those who crucified Him as he hung from the cross with these words; "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". Again, by His example Christ taught us what we need to do.
God is good! All things created by God are good! We have the goodness of God instilled within us if we but seek to find it and then live it. We become living, breathing outward signs of God and True Christians, by seeking the good in others and living in a way that displays our faith in word, deed and action to all we encounter.
By attempting to live in this manner, we become the fulfillment of Christ here on earth and a disciple in this age. If we "Love one another as Christ loved us" we will be numbered among the heavenly elect and be one of those that John described in the second reading from Revelations 7:9,14-17; "These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they now stand in front of God's throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never hunger or thirst again; neither the sun nor scorching wind will ever plague them, because the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes". May God give us the courage and the strength to live our life in a manner that pleases God and reflects God's mercy and love to all we encounter. AMEN