APRIL 25. EASTER. Wk. 4. Sun. Jn. 10. 11-18
‘I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep.
The hired man, since he is not the shepherd
and the sheep do not belong to him,
abandons the sheep and runs away
as soon as he sees a wolf coming,
and then the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep;
this is because he is only a hired man
and has no concern for the sheep.
‘I am the good shepherd;
I know my own
and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me
and I know the Father;
and I lay down my life for my sheep.
And there are other sheep I have
that are not of this fold,
and these I have to lead as well.
They too will listen to my voice,
and there will be only one flock,
and one shepherd.
‘The Father loves me,
because I lay down my life
in order to take it up again.
No one takes it from me;
I lay it down of my own free will,
and as it is in my power to lay it down,
so it is in my power to take it up again;
and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’
One of the difficulties of trying to live the spiritual life is that it is a “spiritual” life, a life of Love, and it is very difficult, some say impossible, to convey “love” in words, but this is a task Jesus took upon himself in his life; - to convey his love, his divine love, for his people!
St John of the Cross, who was a poet, addressed this issue in his “Spiritual Canticle”, where he tries to express the love between a soul on earth, and God in Heaven, a task bordering on the impossible; - “Who can describe the understanding God gives to loving souls in whom he dwells? No one can! Not even he who experience these loving communications. As a result, these people let something of their experience overflow in figures and similes. And if these are not read with the simplicity of the spirit of knowledge and love they contain, they will seem to be absurdities!”
And Christ had this same problem, and his way of dealing with it was to give us the Gospels, which are an attempt to reveal God’s Love for his people, something better experienced that talked about; - but the Gospel’s do a good job if they are read in the light of God trying to reveal his love for us; - which is what we have today in the parable of the Good Shepherd!
It is a story of God’s love for his sinful people, and how; - no matter what; - he cares for them!