Gospel – John 10:27-30
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”
Reflection on the Gospel
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
Initially, those who accepted the new teaching of ‘the way,’ (the name given to the followers of Jesus) were a minority within the group. As such, they had to explain, even justify their new insights. Their arguments are often found within New Testament writings. Eventually they gained significant political power, which was frequently used against the religious group from which they came. Christianity now carries the shame of such bloody conflict.
But how should we understand these readings, particularly during Easter season? Acts describes internal religious strife. Within the community are those who are open to new religious insights and those who claim fidelity to tradition. This challenges us to look at our own contemporary internal struggles. Does fidelity to the message mean that we should be open to change or should we cling to traditional forms of understanding? Whose interpretation should we follow? The scene from Revelation is painted in multicolored diversity, “from every nation,race, people, and tongue.” There is no insistence here on one way of believing, or understanding, or worshipping, or being faithful. How well do we deal with religious diversity?Finally, both Revelation and the gospel depict Jesus as a shepherd, one totally committed to the protection and nourishing of the sheep. Are our eyes on this shepherd as portrayed in the gospels? Or do we follow a way more to our own liking?
Placing these readings into the context of the Easter season, we recognize that the struggle of the early followers of Jesus mirrors our own struggle. The message of Easter is loud and clear:‘Do not be afraid! I am with you.’ What does it mean to be his people? It means that we must know the riches of our faith (tradition) and we must bring those riches to life in our own time and place (change). It means that we must hold fast to his promise to be with us, in each other,and to bring others to this joy of the Holy Spirit.
Sister Dianne Bergant, CSA
Past President of the Catholic Biblical Association of America
Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.