Sunday, April 26, 2015, is the 4th Sunday of Easter. The readings will be: Acts 4:8-12, 1 John 3:1-2 and John 10:11-18.
Our first reading this Sunday, from the Book of Acts, portrays a Peter who has changed significantly since the events of Holy Week. Peter is no longer in doubt or denial. He has experienced the love of the risen Christ and, filled with the Spirit, boldly proclaims Christ to all who will listen. He even uses an Old Testament metaphor to convince his listeners that Jesus, the one who has been crucified, is the Messiah for whom they have waited, though not the Messiah they expected. “…the stone rejected by you, the builders,” says Peter, “has become the cornerstone.”
In our Gospel reading, we will hear Jesus say “I am the good shepherd.” The phrase "I am" is used in the Old Testament to indicate God's self-revelation. Jesus attempts to teach his listeners about the great love that he/God has for them by comparing himself to a good shepherd. A good shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep,” unlike the hired hand who runs for protection when he spots a wolf. The good shepherd knows his sheep and they know him. The good shepherd even bears responsibility for those who are not yet part of his flock, and they, too, are impacted by his voice. God desired to convince humanity of his love for them through the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of his son, Jesus. And Jesus says “this is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life…” Through his obedience, Jesus revealed the magnitude of God’s love for us. Jesus also taught us that, at times, Christian love will require us to sacrifice our own desires in order to reveal love to others.
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