Fourth Sunday of Easter
May 3, 2020
Are you ready to continue your “post-graduate” work as a Christian? Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman with the Sunday Soundbite for the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
On the Sundays of Easter the liturgy offers instruction for the newly-baptized. And all of us are “enrolled” in that course along with them. Our “curriculum” comes from the First Letter of Peter, the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospels. They all suggest how a community rooted in Christ witnesses in the world, with the Holy Spirit’s help.
Today we’re reminded again of the Jesus we follow. A sermon from Acts on the first Pentecost calls listeners to conversion. The second reading—perhaps drawn from an early baptismal instruction to Christian converts who were slaves—presents Jesus as the “Suffering Servant,” a theme we heard in Holy Week. The instruction urges the newly- baptized to identify with and follow Christ as “shepherd of our souls.”
It’s a metaphor found in John’s Gospel. Imagine a crowded sheepfold–noisy with milling flocks and the conflicting voices of shepherds calling their sheep. It’s a likely place for a thief to slip over the wall and do mischief.
But the Good Shepherd enters boldly by the main gate, calls us by name, and we recognize him. With the voice of the Shepherd calling us, we continue our Easter celebration of baptism.