4th Sunday of Easter
05/03/2009
Readings
Acts 4:8-12
1 John 3:1-2
John 10:11-18

“I am the Good Shepherd,” Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel. What does it mean to be a good shepherd? Christ elaborates: he is one who “lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11b). The fundamental quality, then, of a good shepherd is that he puts his own good – even his own life – after the good of his sheep. His life is entirely self-giving, directed towards others, not himself.

This self-giving attitude is the opposite of sin. Whenever we sin, we place our own desires and wants above the good of others. We place ourselves in the center of the universe. This exposes the central lie of the devil: he told Eve that she would be “like god” if she disobeyed her Creator, yet by putting herself first, she acted in a way contrary to the self-giving divine shepherd. God’s whole inner Trinitarian life is one of pouring Himself out to others: the Father pours out His Love to the Son and the Son pours out His Life to the Father. This mutual Love is so real it is the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, this Love is so extravagant that it reaches all of creation, sustaining it and caring for it at all times.

In John’s first letter we are told that “we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). This process of becoming like God does not start only after we die, however; it is begun at our baptism and grows through our reception of the sacraments and our acts of faith, hope and love. We are being transformed into the image of the Good Shepherd. We see this most clearly in the lives of the saints: what was Mother Teresa’s life, after all, other than a laying down of her life for others? Our own self-giving acts may not necessarily be as dramatic, but they are just as important. When we make little sacrifices for our spouse, our children or our co-workers – sacrifices which no one but God can see – we are becoming like the Good Shepherd, giving our lives for those around us.
All Reflections
 
 

 

 

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