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In our three year cycle of readings on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we always read from the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel. In this chapter Jesus identifies himself as the Good Shepherd and his disciples as the sheep. The section from chapter ten we read this Sunday is very brief. It is only three verses: “Jesus said: My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of my Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
We should not presume that the brevity of this Gospel suggests it is unimportant. In fact quite the opposite is true. This Gospel tells us three very important things. 1. Jesus is continually calling us to follow him. We need to listen, though, in order to hear that call. 2. We cannot accidentally fall away from God or be snatched out of God’s hand. Rather, we are meant for eternal life with God. 3. Jesus is able to promise these things because he is one with the Father, not subordinate to the Father.
In our first reading this Sunday we continue to read from the Acts of the Apostles. In the section we read this weekend, Paul and Barnabas continue to preach about Jesus Christ. However, since the Jews of that area had rejected their preaching, they preached instead to the Gentiles, telling the Jews: “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.” When they continue to encounter resistance they “shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.”
Our second reading this Sunday is once again taken from the book of Revelation. It presents a “vision” that told of a future time when “They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Jesus said that my sheep hear my voice. How do you “listen” for the voice of Jesus?
- What helps you to listen for the voice of Jesus?
- We are reminded in our first reading that God intends salvation to be for all people. Why do think some people want to restrict/limit the number who can be saved?