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Holy Spirit Catholic Church

April 22,2018
Fourth Sunday of Easter
John 10, 11-18

The story and images we take up are too easy, too familiar, and too comfortable. They allow us to sit back and drift off into those wonderful pastoral images that have so consistently captured the imaginations of artists and poets at the expense of the message, the truth, and the power of this Gospel. While in fact, this tenth chapter passage is an important part of John’s development of the identity of Jesus, it is also a fact that leaving the image there thinking that it just has something to do with Jesus, and being comfortable with how nice it is for him to be a “good shepherd” while we are all safe and secure is pure silliness, immature, and unworthy of John his community, his message and of Jesus whose life was surely about more than just making us feel cozy secure, and safe with a competent shepherd who will always keep the wolves away. In the end this just promotes passivity on our part, and that will not do. It might be good and wise to consider something else John has in mind. He is taking a look at the membership of the early church and he recognizes that there are hirelings and shepherds, and then he goes a little beyond the observation to suggest that one is more appropriate, more worthy of Christ Jesus, and more easily identified as a Christian life style and more conducive to bearing witness to the Christian Message. This Gospel is about commitment which tells the difference between hirelings and shepherds. You can count on one, but not the other. It’s not about Christ as the only Shepherd. It is about us and about our commitment to the church, to one another, and to this whole earth.

Fr. Tom Boyer