Reflections on the Readings
Fourth Sunday of Easter - April 25, 2010, Year C
By Dennis Hankins
...I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. - Jesus
Is this not the heart and soul of the gospel that Jesus preached?
The hurting of heart and body testify of Jesus and his gracious love. Through him they receive new eyes, new ears, and new skin. The blind, the deaf, and the lepers, each and everyone, cherished. Not only loved into new and healthy bodies, but brought into the power of an imperishable life, completely and forever cherished.
Parish renewal begins with the truth that Jesus loves and cherishes his people.
Parish life thrives as we cherish one another.
Parish evangelism is empowered as we cherish as Jesus does, those other sheep, that are not of this fold.
Jesus says, "My sheep hear my voice." In the voice of Jesus, his flock hears the voice of caring, the voice of personal friendship with each one. He knows us. Jesus, the good Shepherd, unlike the hireling, stays close to his own, standing between us and the wolf. He leads and guards. 'No one shall snatch them out of my hand.'
So familiar is the voice and teaching of Jesus, that the voice of strangers is unpersuasive. No matter how deep and wide the divisions between us, the Father and the Son are one. And whether we claim one another or not, we are equally loved by the Father and the Son, in whose hands we are safe.
Have I told you lately how much I cherish you, my brother and sister in Christ?
Let us pray: Dear Father, from whom comes every good and perfect gift, even the great Shepherd who loved us and gave himself for us. Gather into one fold, the sheep of your pasture, and bring us to the waters of life in the Spirit. Amen.