The Fourth Sunday of Easter – 25 April 2021 – Bible Readings for Mass: I: Acts 4: 8-12
Responsorial: Psalm 118; II: I John 3: 1-2; Gospel: John 10: 11-18
We are about midway in our journey through the holy season of Easter. It will culminate with the celebration of Ascension Sunday and then the following Sunday will be Pentecost. Our Bible readings are shining God’s light from our Lord’s resurrection and beginning to shine on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. It is nice to know where we are going. We humans generally like to have a plan, an understanding, of the course of life. It allows us to enjoy the feeling (the myth) that we are in control. Now, of course, we need plans. We need to prepare for what is occurring in life and what we are doing with this profound gift of being alive. Yet, sadly, this belief of control, keeping in touch, has, for many, become an obsession. This faith in technology and assumed control has impacted all ages. It has become a false cornerstone, a false shepherd of our time.
Now, the needed point of clarity, cell phones, tablets, computers, APPS, and technology is, in itself not bad. It is not evil. But when it replaces real, versus virtual, communication, when it takes our eyes away from LIFE and the roads we travel, when it replaces real people and especially God we have chosen a dangerous, false idol. To illustrate this point picture, for a few moments, what most lives would have been like IF, during this pandemic, cell phones, tablets, the internet were not an option. It would have been a loss of great and blessed resources. But it also would have brought us to realize those THINGS are not our God. They are not meant to be leading us as our shepherd.
We need to recognize these challenges and realize they impact all ages and in all aspects of our life. They especially impact our faith, often profoundly in times of stress, crises, or facing uncertainties. We long for clarity, security, and assurance that we are on the right path. And, being honest, that can seem to be found with some APPS, websites, and social media sources. But as the Word of God would teach and remind us today, Jesus is the foundation, the cornerstone of our life. We believe that, at least until things get rough. Regardless we still wonder, more often than not, Where is God leading?
The answer to that question is really simpler than we would make it. Jesus would and will always lead us closer into His Presence. As the Gospel reading affirms Jesus, our crucified and risen Lord, is the Good Shepherd. He Finds us when and where we may stray and brings us back to where we are meant to be. And we must accept, as the Gospel teaches, it isn’t only about us, or our path with God. Our Lord has other sheep that do not belong to this fold that He also shepherds on the paths of His Kingdom. We are not in charge. We are sheep. We are not the navigator or the one who decides who is to follow and who may or may not be following as we would expect. We, simply are not in control at least to the extent we feel we should be. We are sheep. Jesus is the Shepherd.
And Christ is leading us closer to Him. He leads us to be close that we may hear, see, follow God to the fullness of His Kingdom. This is a journey of faith. There is much unknown and, at times, perhaps uncertain. But the Holy Spirit speaks clearly that it is into God’s Presence we are called. And that we are called to be the child of God that we ARE and the child of God we ARE TO BECOME.
Where is God leading? Closer into His Presence and to be and become the child of God, the sheep He would love and shepherd. It is in one of the great Psalm confessions or prayers we see this expressed.
This glorious season of Easter let us take the time to quietly sit or walk with our risen Lord. Perhaps you may want to invite our Blessed Mother Mary, or another special saint to join you and our Lord and then quietly, from your heart, look to Jesus and confess, JESUS, The Lord is my Shepherd.