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April 29, 2012 – Fourth Sunday of Easter
Also called: Good Shephard Sunday
I John 3:1-2
"I Am the Good Shepherd - The Resurrection - The Life - The Way - The Truth!"
Today we celebrate under multiple bannes. It’s not only the Fourth Sunday of Easter, which is also called Good Shepherd Sunday, it’s also the Feast of Dominican Saint Catherine of Siena which is the name of our parish here in Nairobi. So, we have many avenues to choose from for our reflection.
We can start with all the “I AM…” statements that Jesus makes in John’s Gospel and it’s easy to connect that up with St. Catherine since Jesus says, “I AM the WAY” and I ofen quote Catherine’s saying, “It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven!” And even on this 4th Sunday of Easter we still hear Jesus saying, “I AM the Resurrection and the life.”
Then, of course, today we hear that Jesus says, “I AM the Good Shepherd.” What we have to be careful about in this “title” is to avoid the notion that we are dumb, stupid sheep who don’t know up from down. On the contrary, sheep are smart enough to know the difference between their “shepherd’s voice” and that of the wolf. Jesus guides us to safe pastures and watches over us in the dark. At night the Good Shepherd leads the sheep into the sheepfold and then, as Jesus says, “I AM the Sheepgate…” and here’s where I think I can give you a new understanding of this title. In Israel shepherds constructed the sheepfold out of branches and tumbleweeds. This formed a circular enclouser that kept the sheep safe during the night. The Shepherd would then place his whole body in the one opening so that none of the sheep could get out and nothing from the outside could get in. In this sense, Jesus can say, “I AM the Sheepgate!”
Take some time to meditate on all the “I AM’s” about Jesus and especially this one today. How do I let (allow) Jesus to be my “Sheepgate?” Think about it. Amen!
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