Fourth Sunday of Easter - Scripture Soundings
First Reading: Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:20b-25
Gospel: John 10:1-10
Peter told the people gathered that they had crucified Jesus, the one that God had made both Lord and Christ. Although the accusation was certainly general, its impact was sincerely felt by Peter's audience. They were sorry and wanted to know what they needed to do. "Repent," was the word Peter used. They accepted Peter's invitation and came to the waters of baptism.
Notice that Peter's audience didn't come back with, "Who? Us? We didn't do anything wrong!" No, indeed. Of course, Jesus did not die directly at their hands, but they went right past the accusation. They were "cut to the heart," and wanted to know what to do to make things right. The amazing things missing from their response were guilt, denial, and blame. The people gathered were open to forgiveness. That's why they were so eager to be baptized.
In Peter's letter, he affirms that we should bear what we suffer for our good deeds patiently. After all, Jesus did no less. He didn't do anything wrong. He was without sin. He didn't ridicule or berate others. Even when his enemies accused him of preposterous things, aren't we amazed at the patience Jesus always exhibited in his response? Haven't you ever thought, "I wonder if I could have thought that quickly," when we read some of his responses to his enemies? Peter confirms that Jesus is our model. Even if we stray and falter in following his example, he is the Shepherd and will continue to call us back.
In order to call us back, the Shepherd is always like an open door. We have encountered many types of doors in our lives. There are swinging doors, locked doors, revolving doors, trap doors, fun-house doors, open doors, and sliding doors, to name just a few. For the most part we go through doors every day without much thought. We go in and out of our homes, work places, schools, and stores almost like involuntary reflexes.
But there are some doors that really get our attention as we're about to pass through them. Have you ever had to walk through a hospital door on the way to see someone seriously ill? Have you ever been called to the principal's or boss's office? Have you ever gone through the doors to a counselor or support group for yourself or someone you love? It's likely that you paused and took a deep breath before going through some of these doors, clearing your mind to gather the thoughts and form the words that you knew were necessary for the meeting.
Jesus creates the door of peace for us. We don't have those foreboding feelings of apprehension. It's not like the fun house--there's no distortion in what Jesus promises us. Jesus is not a revolving door--he always opens a straight path for us. We will find a safe pasture in the life the Shepherd has won for us.
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Updated: May 11, 2008