Fourth Sunday of Easter
The Gospel of Jesus as a Good Shepherd is beloved and treasured.
It is one that fills us with comfort and confidence.
It shows us how tenderly God cares for us and protects us in our belonging to God.
For we do see ourselves as belonging to God...
taking into ourselves the message of Jesus as recognizing us and welcoming us.
Our eyes and ears and do not see or hear as clearly the message
of disguise and trickery that ends with theft, slaughter, and destruction.
Our hearts do not heed the warning
that we must be wary of those who attempt to gain our loyalty,
posturing as the true one, to satisfy their own needs
and callously cause harm to others.
It is in the authentic movement of Call and Response with God
we are shaped into children of God...gifted and challenged to live lives of
mercy and compassion,
love and trust,
faithful and committed,
abundant and generous.
It is the inauthentic call and response
that shapes our perceptions, perspectives, and decisions.
When anger and blame are the response to poverty and need,
we are listening to the thief who wants to cripple
our mercy and compassion so that they can have more for themselves.
When love and trust are replaced by exclusion and suspicion,
we have stopped listening to the call of Jesus
to accept each person as our brother or sister
worthy of mutual respect and opportunity.
When our faithfulness and commitment
look more like fitting in and casting out,
we bury the unique giftedness and wonder
God has placed in each person.