MAY 3, 2020 FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
FOCUS: Sheep left unattended or corralled will wander off and get into trouble every single time. That is why the shepherd goes to such lengths to keep an eye on them. When left to our own devices, we, too, have this uncanny tendency to wander off and get into trouble of all kinds. When we allow the voices of temptation to drown out the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, we are headed for trouble. Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves, and we need to heed his voice.
What an awesome event is described in today’s first reading. Peter speaks plainly to the crowd as to their culpability in the death of Jesus. Some were no doubt agitators in the crowd the day Jesus was condemned and crucified. Others stood by silently and let it all unfold. Let us not forget that10 of the Apostles ran away!Only the youngest remained at the foot of the cross with Mary and several other women. But Peter told them to repent and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Those who accepted [Peter’s] message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day. All the people repented for whatever role they may have played in Jesus’ death, and the community grew by 3,000. Truly a gracious and blessed day in the life of the Church. The heavens rejoiced at the sight of such a glorious event.
This was not the work of Peter, of course. This was the Lord working through Peter. Jesus Christ is the gate protecting the sheep from robbers and thieves – Jesus, who came so [all] might have life and have it more abundantly. The crowds in the first reading heard their shepherd’s voice in the words and actions of Peter. The Pharisees and others in the Gospel did not recognize their shepherd who was right in front of them.
Let us hear the Good Shepherd’s voice this day. Let us help others hear his voice through our words and actions this day as well. For his voice leads us to life. The Easter season is the perfect time to move from pain and suffering to glorious triumph in the risen Christ. May we always hear and heed the voice of the Shepherd.