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The Fourth Sunday of Easter

April 25th, 2010

 

They Shall Never Perish!

 

 

 

Reading 1

Acts 13:14, 43-52

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Ps 100:1-2, 3, 5

Responsorial Psalm

R. (3c) We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Rev 7:9, 14b-17

Reading 2

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

Then one of the elders said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Jn 10:27-30

Gospel

Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

 

 




Homily

There is no question about who Jesus is, as noted from this reading and the many others in scripture. We might find ourselves asking, “Who are the sheep.” And many Christians will fall short of the answer if they think that only Christians are in the His fold. But this reading certainly does clarify any question we might have, that is if we are open to truth that Jesus reveals. Yes, Christians are sheep in the fold, but there are others also, and to find out who they are, we might need to go back to John 10 to find the answer, though the answer is also revealed in this passage, but not as clearly. We would have to read this one very carefully to come up with the answer. And that answer is revealed in the last three lines of this gospel message: My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.

So then, who would Jesus be talking about? Obviously he is talking about others, but what others? Others who are not Christian. “Oh my gosh,” us pious Christians might exclaim, “but aren’t Christians the only ones in the fold of Jesus? Nope, not exactly. To the surprise of some, the Jewish people, who are and have been faithful to God, are also among those sheep in the fold. Yes, the Jews rejected Jesus, but they did not reject God, and those who have remained faithful to the law of the Old Testament, the law or laws that God gave to them, are most certainly in the fold. To say otherwise would be a grievous mistake.

And also, to the surprise of many Christians, there are those who have never heard the word of God, who have never heard the gospel message, through no fault of their own. They too are counted among those who are in the fold. That is why Jesus said, “ . . . no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. But we should know that this reading is not talking about who will go to heaven and who will not. That is not the purpose of this reading. It’s purpose is to tell us, all those of us, who are in the fold, that we are given eternal life and that none shall perish. However, being in the fold is one thing. Staying there is another. There are those who have heard the word, accepted it, and then decided not to live it, and or have decided to modify the word of Jesus to suit their own wants. Can’t do that folks. That’s a no, no.

And we must remember that not all people will hear the gospel message at the same time. Some will hear it later in life, perhaps even after living a not so good life, in Christian terms. Some will hear and accept the word on their deathbed, happens all the time. The bottom line is, we don’t know who will be gifted with eternal life, by name. Only God knows that. For us, the task is to hear the word of God and more importantly, live it out to best of our ability, knowing that we are sinners, and will often fail, but when repentant, we will be forgiven.

So again, the question: “Who are the sheep?” We are the sinners, the outcast, the homeless, the elderly, the poor, the mentally challenged, the jobless, the abused. We are those who march on Washington, D.C, crying out for justice from a government gone astray, a government intent on the continuation of destroying human life, a government that does not listen to the voice of the people, but one that seems to cater to wants and desires of our enemies, the government who has taken God completely out of our country. We are those who pray each day for guidance, for wisdom, for other people, and for understanding. And how we live out our lives in the fold of Jesus; a people who embrace and make prayer our daily commitment to belonging to each other.

It is my hope that this message was meaningful to you. May God bless you with a great week ahead and grant you good health.


Deacon Steve
© April 23, 2010
 

 

 

 

“My Definition of Love” by Jason Ma


 

 

 

 

 

~ Forever Yours My Lord! ~



Forever Yours my Lord -
what can I say?
You are the sunrise and the sunset -
of each and every day.

You’re my hope -
when life drags me down,
putting a smile on my face -
when there is a frown.

You’re my strength -
that keeps my faith alive,
the keeper of my soul -
as You wipe away the tears in my eyes.

You’re my food -
that feeds my very soul,
the warmth of Your love -
keeps away the cold.

You’re the Light -
when I am too blind to see,
opening up my heart -
embracing the weaknesses in me.

You’re the Joy -
on this journey that I travel,
sending angels from Heaven -
for my problems to unravel.

You’re the Gentleness -
of a summer’s breeze,
the Father of creation -
yearning for all to believe.

You’re the Love -
that this person who I am,
who always forgives my sinfulness -
and my life is in Your command.

Forever Yours my Lord -
do with me what you will,
as I try to live like Jesus -
who died on Calvary’s hill.

Forever Yours my Lord . . . !


© Steve A. Politte
Posted @ Nethugs.com
9/1/2006

 

 

 

 

 

 

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