April 21, 2024

MESSAGE – Fourth Sunday of Easter – Year B – Sunday 21 April 2024

MESSAGE – Fourth Sunday of Easter – Year B – Sunday 21 April 2024

This week the challenge to live the resurrection continues. By combining the Good Shepherd metaphor with John’s call for love and Peter’s proclamation of God’s grace in Christ, the readings have some strong words for leaders, but also for all Christ-followers. God’s life is to be enjoyed as a priceless gift, but it is also to be received as a transforming influence, and shared as a grace-filled, love-bringing reality.

If the Easter season is about anything, it’s about restoration, life, and God’s compassionate care for God’s people. These are the themes that come through the readings for this week. In Acts the disciples, who are put on trial for healing the lame man outside of the Temple, proudly proclaim Jesus as the name by which the healing has happened, and by which humanity is to be saved.

In David’s famous Psalm, God’s care as shepherd is celebrated, and in John’s letter the love of God that is revealed in Christ’s sacrifice is to be passed on through those who are Christ’s disciples as they choose to love one another and lay down their lives for one another.

Finally, in John 10 Jesus proclaims himself as the Good Shepherd who cares for the sheep with commitment and courage, and who lays down his life for the sheep. But, in this loving sacrifice lies the hope of resurrection – Jesus confidently asserts that he will take up his life again.

The message is an important one as we reflect on the resurrection over the next few weeks. Resurrection can easily be seen as an individual experience of life beyond the grave, but the Gospel reveals that it is so much more than that. As much as it does offer personal renewal through God’s life, and the promise of eternity, resurrection also calls us to be life-carriers – shepherds who, like Jesus, lay our lives down for others. It is the hope of resurrection that makes sacrifice possible, and that gives us the strength and courage to risk loving and serving others even when it hurts.