Sunday, May 3, 2020

+ 4th Sunday of Easter A +

Giving life in this world—even for God—always involves the pains of labor, a compassion for the sorrows of others, and the joys of willing sacrifice.   All life enters the world through the narrow gate.

Today, Jesus mixes it up with rigorists of every age, self-appointed guardians of religion who think they already have all the answers, who dominate and exclude rather than serve and gather.

At night different flocks were gathered into a pen with one opening, in which the shepherd slept, becoming the sheep gate, making real the phrase “over my dead body.”

We enter the fold through the Good Shepherd who is risen, through the Lamb who was slain to give life: Anyone who enters through me will be saved, and all will come in and go out and find pasture.

Our parish, our Church must be a welcoming and sheltering place, a place of diversity and belonging.

Our vocation as sheep is to hear his voice within us, to learn his way of proceeding, so thathe can lead us out to be shepherds with him.

Out there, thieves, brigands, wolves in sheep’s clothing. He wants us in the fray. He expectsus to play our part in politics and public life.

He expects us to be skilled at conversation, at sitting at table, at accounting for the hope that is within us.

He wants us to breathe free and look on long, open vistas. Love the questioning. Wrestle with your doubts.

He leads us in and sends us out. Go in peace. Live the gospel. Pour yourselves into your family, into your work, into your community.

He leads us in and out through the narrow gate of coming to grips with the brokenness and betrayal of our human condition.

We become shepherds the day we choose to love God, ourselves, one another anywaybecause Jesus choose to go through it all loving us anyway.  Jean Vanier:

Some people think their wound of loneliness will be healed if they come into community. But they will be disappointed.

While they are young they can hide their disappointment behind the dynamic of generosity; they can flee from the present by projecting themselves into the future…

But towards the age of forty the future is past and there are no more great projects; the wound is still there and we can become depressed, especially as we are now carrying all the guilt and apathy of the past.

Then we have to realize that this wound is inherent in the human condition and that what we have to do is walk with it instead of fleeing from it.

We cannot accept it until we discover that we are loved by God just as we are, and that the Holy Spirit in a mysterious way is living at the center of the wound.

Fellow sheep! May we hear his voice and enter through the narrow gate. The Risen Lord is calling us to a richness of life beyond success, beyond performance, beyond dutifully bearing heavy burdens.

I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.

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