FIRST READING Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12
Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said: “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
SECOND READING 1 John 3:1-2
Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
GOSPEL John 10:11-18
Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have power to lay it down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
Saint John gives us these words of Jesus: “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me.” God is seeking us out, just as a shepherd seeks out his sheep. God wants us to be with him, just as the shepherd wants his sheep with him. This Sunday we are invited and challenged to give our lives completely to the Lord.
The first reading today is from the Acts of the Apostles. We could pay attention to just this one sentence: “There is no salvation through anyone else.” So often we want to work our own salvation. Too often we have an idea of what our salvation might mean. Today we are invited to recognize that God saves us in many, many ways. God always invites us to share His life. We are invited to let God be Saviour rather than constantly seeking to save ourselves.
Once we come to recognize Jesus as true Savior, we cannot stop talking about Him to others. We want to share His presence in our lives. We want others to recognize that there is nothing worthwhile in this whole world other than the presence of Jesus. And, for many of us, we do not want to appear to be fanatics in the process. Nevertheless, like the early disciples of Jesus, we will look fanatic whenever we speak about our belief in the Lord Jesus.
The second reading is from the First Letter of Saint John. Saint John tells us: “When it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” We shall see HIM as HE is. This life is about seeking God and seeing only glimpses of the Lord Jesus. Some seem to have more glimpses than others, but God always gives each of us what we need to continue in the seeking of God. In the life of the world to come, we shall see Him as He is.
More importantly, Jesus will also see us as we are, with all of our brokenness, our sinfulness, our failures, our sins and all that we might want to hide from Him. He will still say to us: Come, you blessed of my Father. Enter the Kingdom.
We come back to the Gospel of John. Jesus lays down His life for us. Jesus gives His live over to death in order that we can life forever. We are invited to accept that salvation. Even if we do not fully understand the Lord Jesus or His salvation, we are invited to accept Him and ask Him to save us.
Lord Jesus, risen from the dead, save us and draw us to yourself. Be our shepherd and guide us in this life so that we may all be with you forever in the life of the world to come.
Your brother in the Lord,
From: The Benedictine Monastery of Christ in the Desert, Abiquiu, New Mexico, USA. (By kind permission of the Abbot)