May 3, 2020 - 4th Sunday of Easter
(Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Pt 2:20b-25; Jn 10:1-10)
This is Good Shepherd Sunday. Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, lovingly watches out for our welfare. He knows us and calls us each by name. The relationship is that personal. As followers of Jesus we have come to trust in that relationship and we listen for the voice of Jesus, so as to embrace that divine help that he desires for us. Jesus has already proven his love for us by dying for us. He does not want a single one of us to come to harm. Today's Gospel also contains a warning against following voices that are not his, but present a contrary way to live. These voices are the ones that have not entered by way of the gate, which is Jesus, but have “climbed over elsewhere.” These are thieves and robbers intent on stealing our soul. Those who belong to Jesus do not follow the voice of these strangers, regardless of how appealing their pitch may be.
In the first reading from Acts, Peter tells the people the hard truth that they have crucified the Lord and the Christ – the savior that all of Israel was waiting for. He must have been very persuasive because about 3000 of them that day repented of their actions, were baptized, and accepted “the way” of Jesus. This is a very different Peter from the one we saw in the Passion narrative when he denied Jesus three times. We learn elsewhere that Peter made no secret of his past failings. He did not hold himself out as a steadfast follower of Jesus, but instead showed that he was little better than the people who were crying “Crucify him!” Because of the love of Jesus that was stronger than Peter's sin, Peter could be forgiven and accept forgiveness.