“Has God pulled off the Resurrection for you personally, or are you still in the tomb?”
Limits have been crossed!
The boulder has been rolled away!
Boundaries have been transcended!
The future has been created by God, we are not bound by the past and as Christians, if we are not optimists then we “haven’t got it, yet!” (R. Rohr 2012)
We are at the halfway mark between Easter Sunday and Pentecost. The question for us last week required us to use our sense of sight, “Where and how do we see Jesus? This week our sense of hearing is vital for us to recognise the risen Christ in our lives, the question is, “How and where do we hear Jesus?”
“Hear his voice, I am the gate. Anyone who enters through me will be safe.
I have come so that you may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn 10: 1-10)
Our scriptures, the stories of the bible were written to be shared in the community. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, our worship communities look quite different. We might be zooming with family and friends to share the Word each Sunday or watching a live stream Mass from local Parish’s or St Mary’s Cathedral at home, alone or with those we live with.
Reading. Understanding. Living
– The Word of God
This week you are invited to join the Youth of Africa and Madagascar. The link below allows you to listen to the prayers and readings for the 4th week of Easter, you might like to use the material and read it aloud as a family.
You might prefer to listen to a reading of the Gospel John 10: 1-10 by Douglas Brown
Here is one for the little people in your home – a children’s version of the Good Shepherd story.
The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John is filled with comparison and in today’s Gospel according to John, we have the comparison between safety and threat. The safe images of shepherd and sheep, gatekeeper and gate, pasture and life, recognition and salvation, which Jesus offers versus that which he protects us from in the images of strangers, thieves and bandits, killing and stealing, running away in fear instead of following, climbing in rather than walking through the open gate.
Jesus offers us life in abundance, who;
- Lifts your spirit?
- Satisfies your soul?
- Gives you lasting peace?
- Fills you with life?
On the other hand, what;
- Drains you?
- Steals your energy?
- Leaves you lifeless and empty?
- Kills your spirit?
The American Indians tell their children that deeply embedded in our hearts are two wolves each wanting to kill the other. The Child is meant to ask “And who wins”?
The Parent wisely answers ‘the one you feed the most’.
We still have time to enter the story, to take our own risk, to walk the way of Jesus. It is in ‘US’ that Jesus will live, serve, die and rise again. If we do not exit from our darkened tomb and choose “not to come out”, ALIVE, we will allow the tombstone to block the light, the new life and the new Spirit of God’s love,
COVID-19 has changed us all. The restrictions have caused us to roll boulders in front of what we know – asking when will our tombs be open, when will we be free to live our lives freely again? Let us not forget that these restrictions are temporary and for our safety, and that our spiritual lives are up and running. There has been a new light cast on a new way: we have had to slow down, sit with each other, be still and listen to each other. Social media has helped us stay in communication. We have rediscovered the power of a smile, a nod and kind word, a compliment or an act of caring.
We are all called at this time especially, to be Good Shepherds to one another, to serve imaginatively and relationally, without aggression, domination, control or condemnation but with tenderness, forgiveness, strength and protection.
In 2019, Pope Francis responded to his own question; “How are we treating the people of God?” by sharing his dream:
“I dream of a church that is a mother and a shepherdess. The Church’s ministers must be merciful, take responsibility for the people and accompany them like the Good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbour, this is pure Gospel.”
At this halfway mark, let us remember that Jesus holds our name in the palm of his hand, on this fourth Sunday of Easter Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” In the link below, we are invited to think of the blessings in our lives.
The Rosary for the Month of May
As we enter this fourth week of Easter, we also begin the month of May and as Catholics, we associate this month with the Rosary prayer in honour of Mary. You might like to join an online Rosary Prayer group or even make your own rosary beads. Bead making is very meditative and there are many ways to create a full set or just one decade (10) of these prayer beads. Pope Francis has encouraged us to remember the beauty of this prayer and the gathering of the family in prayer. Again, we must remember social distancing, that some of us may be living alone and the beauty of this prayer is that it can be said in a group or alone. Here are some links you may find useful:
How to make a Rosary
How to make a decade of Rosary
Good Shepherd Sunday
The fourth Sunday of Easter is known as Good Shepherd Sunday because of the Gospel reading. Our Church asks us to pray for those discerning their path in life.
Let us pray for each other as we seek to follow the Good Shepherd more closely in our respective vocations, and let us pray especially for those still discerning their vocation, that they may hear, and trust, the voice of Jesus calling them to fullness of life.