Fourth Sunday of Easter

The dominant theme of this gospel passage is that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.  Total commitment and sacrifice are the keynote to Christ’s role as the Good Shepherd.  Our Lord’s death was not a negative work done by darkness but a free laying down of His own life to demonstrate the depths of His love for us.

In order to share in this kind of love God has for us, we have to love one another.  It doesn’t mean that we have to be crucified on a cross like Jesus.  But it does mean that we have to be deeply concerned about each other and committed to each other’s well being.

Good shepherds who lay down their lives mean husband and wives who can’t do enough for each other to demonstrate their devotion, parents who make countless sacrifices for the food of their children, teachers who spend untold hours instructing weak students, doctors and nurses who work entirely to show they care for their patients.

Good shepherds who lay down their lives mean employers who share profits with their workers, politicians who unselfishly promote the common good of their voters, parishioners who generously support their parish community.

The paradox is that if we shepherd one another in love, we don’t lose anything by laying down our life in service.  Rather we gain it back.  We take it up again as Jesus said in the gospel.

In fact, like Jesus, who took up His life again in the resurrection, transfigured in glory, we too will take up our life again, transformed and renewed by grace.  We will experience a deeper kind of peace, enjoy a stronger sense of satisfaction and find a happiness surpassing all our hope.

God Bless

Msgr. Powell