Saturday, May 10, 2014

A difficult concept I am a sheep

Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Easter May 11 2014  Acts 2:42-47 ;Psalm 23; I Peter 2:19-25; John 10:1-10
This is an extraordinarily clear picture of a good shepherd, don't you think? 

A priest said to to me during the week that she hated Good Shepherd Sunday..This 4th Sunday of Easter.
 I understand what she meant. It is an image that has become very passé, taken for granted, ordinary. And most of what is said is trite and, perhaps, irrelevant . Out of touch with the 21st century world. My brother in law, now not far from his 70s used to be a shepherd like the sort of shepherds Jesus was talking about in rural Italy. Those who cared for small flocks, in quiet, remote, and occasionally dangerous environments. But it is a long time ago.

At least Australians, 
unlike most city dwellers, 
are probably
quite used to sheep
No image is fonder to traditional Christians than that of Jesus as the Good Shepherd.
Yet it is a foreign image 
which bears little relevance to most of us
Even in this country (Australia) 
the intimacy of the image...
one shepherd caring for a small flock of sheep...
is not the way we look after sheep.
They are in hundreds and thousands, largely left to their own devices
until the time comes for them to be killed or shorn.
So we need to look beyond the image and translate it to our modern times.

A couple of pointers
being a sheep is about belonging
It's only as we belong to Christ
that we understand and believe
This would suggest that the Good News 
is about the decision we make to be Christ's
And not so much about intellectual knowledge.
[As important as doctrine and learning are],
life in Christ is actually about being in touch with the person of the Risen Christ

How might we be in touch?
We need to maintain a deep commitment to personal and regular prayer.
We will meet Jesus 
in so far as we encounter him in the early morning,
and in the evening,
this is a figurative way of looking at prayer of course. 
but we need to do it
We will meet Jesus in the shared life of the Christian community.
There are no solitary Christians...
we are the Body of Christ, 
members of one another.
We belong to a flock.
It may be big.It may be small.
in so far as we struggle with one another (difficult as we are)
we are exploring the depth of relationship in Christ
and coming to know Jesus in depth
Relationships require struggle.
Jesus himself shows this as he journeys to the Cross

The spirit of obedience
Jesus could not be blunter..
We hear his voice, and we do what he tells us!
  • What, then, is Christ saying to me in my life?
  • Do I respond by doing what he tells me to do?
  • What does the life of the Body of Christ say to me about what Jesus invites me to be and do?
  • Do I do it?


  • Take some time to reflect on what I hear Jesus saying, through my prayer,

  • through my life, through experience of community

  • What 2 or 3 things do I seem to hear Jesus saying to me about how to faithfully follow

  • What resistance do I have to obedience? What do I need to do about it?

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