Acts 2:14a, 36-41
1 Pt 2:20b-25
I have to tell you, I’m not so sure that I like idea of being a sheep. After all if the Lord is my Shepherd that means that I must be a sheep. Now I must admit up front, being a 21st century, urban-dwelling American, I don’t know a lot about sheep. But the popular impression that is out there, the impression that most of us have, is that sheep are, well that they are dumb, not real bright, dim, mindless. You get the picture. I don’t want to be considered any of those things. I am, after all, a reasonably intelligent human being, capable of thought, capable of reasoning, capable of making decisions for myself. Why would I want to be a sheep? After reading today’s Gospel, however, I wonder if the popular perception of sheep is a misperception. Jesus says to the Pharisees I am the gate, I am the way for the sheep to enter and to find pasture. The sheep did not listen to those who came before, rather they heard the voice of Jesus and followed, and in following found life more abundantly. These sheep aren’t dumb, they learned. They listened, and they recognized and they learned the way to go, the way that led to life. They weren’t mindless at all. For us to follow Jesus is not an exercise in mindlessness. We are not the popular perception of sheep, bleating and following without thought. We must listen, we must learn, we must hear the voice of Jesus, we must study what Jesus says so that we can make an informed decision to follow. Believing in God, following the Christ isn’t about closing your eyes and your mind and following blindly. Believing is about learning, learning the voice of the Christ. Believing is about understanding, finding the way, finding the gate, the gate that leads to what Jesus brings us, life, life more abundant than we can know.
Fourth Sunday of Easter, Good Shepherd Sunday
April 13, 2008