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Back The Fourth Sunday of Easter
Friday, May 1, 2020
From the Desk of Fr. Ron…….
If one takes a springtime stroll along Seneca Street nearing East Aurora, you would pass the short stone wall encircling the Knox farm. Most times within the stone enclosure you will see sheep grazing on the plentiful grass of the fields. Contrary to popular opinion sheep are not stupid animals, but rather sensitive ones that are emotionally complex and highly intelligent. According to some scientists they are able to recognize one another and are also prized to have more in common with humans, than ever expected. Unlike deer they cannot leap over walled enclosures and thus need to use an entry point or gate.
On this fourth Sunday of Easter, our assigned scriptures lead us to reflect upon the familiar theme of Jesus as our “Good Shepherd.” Our featured Gospel text is from the Gospel of John, Chapter Ten. In the latter part of that chapter Jesus describes Himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Our selection today is from the first ten verses of that chapter in which Jesus declares Himself as “The Gate” which all must use to attain safety and salvation. In the Jewish faith at the time to abide by the Book of Law, the Torah, one could be close to holiness. The Torah was the gateway to salvation with God. In the presence of the Pharisees Jesus declares Himself to be “The Gate” through which all must enter to experience true life. All others He said were thieves and robbers; those religious leaders who used the people for their own personal gain and enrichment. As Jesus indicates, the sheep did not recognize their voice and didn’t follow them. Jesus is commenting on the current leadership of the community and those of His followers who recognize God working through Him, to bring salvation to all who would follow Him.
The first reading from the Acts of the Apostles portrays Peter rallying a crowd with the teachings of Jesus leading them like a shepherd. They ask: “What are we to do brothers? To which Peter exclaims: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). With that gift of the Holy Spirit, they too will be able to recognize the voice of Jesus and follow Him.
Jesus is not just one teacher among many, but “The Gate” through which all must pass to experience eternal life. During this fourth week of Easter, let us acclaim Jesus as the Way to God our Heavenly Father; the Truth that sets our heart free; and the joy that makes our life complete. Jesus, You are my all in all….Amen!