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Theology for the common man

4 Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Jesus Christ compares today his work of salvation, which is the institution of the Church, to a sheepfold. He shows himself in a role of a good shepherd (of his Church), who knows his flock and each of its sheep and takes care of them. The criterion of good shepherding here is offering His life for the sheep. Instead “a hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own” treats them instrumentally and in facing a danger, escapes, not wanting to expose his life to the danger. He “sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep”. Jesus shows himself as a good shepherd, and precisely the best one, not having others like him, because it is about the divine sheepfold (of the Church) we are speaking about, which ultimately is difficult to compare to any earthly relationship. As a rule no (earthly) shepherd is able to give his life for the sheep, even if he knows them very well and even if he loves them, because he is not that mad (crazy) to die for animals. But in the case of Jesus it is about divine relationship and the eternal life of the human being, which is hidden behind the name of divine sheepfold, it means, the Church. Here Jesus, as a divine shepherd, knows his sheep and they know Him. At stake is his life and eternal salvation of his sheep, according to the will of the Father. He wants the life of all the sheep even those who do not belong to his fold (being out of the Church). The moving power of this activity is love according to which no one is able to force him asking him to offer his life for the sheep. He himself lays down his life, according to the will of his Father, “in order to take it up again” in time of the resurrection, giving that way, the gift of redemption to all creation, that is to the sheep. He says He “has power to lay down his life, and power to take it up again”. Only that way, through love, behind which stays the offering of his life, Jesus gives back to his creatures the renovations of its being, and then the sheep “will hear his voice and there will be one flock, one shepherd”. In the second reading today, St. Peter calls this renovate creature an “assuming of a dignity of the children of God” which is received in the sacrament of baptism.