by Fr. Andrew Kelly
FOURTH SUNDAY EASTER SUNDAY – APRIL 26, 2015
Notice Sunday’s Gospel (John 10:11-18) reads “I am the good shepherd…” and not “I am like a good shepherd.…” If the risen Christ is “like a good shepherd…” Christ remains an outsider and stranger unknown to the community’s soul. That shepherd is the “hired man” who runs away abandoning the community when life gets rough, torturous and life threatening as all authentic faithful Christian life must eventually become.
But if Christ is the “good shepherd” that anchors the community, then Christ’s divine light and life radiate from the absolute radical center of the community’s soul. The “good shepherd’s” life and the community” life become the one life that Christ lives with the Father. John’s Gospel describes that life this way:
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.”
A believing community steeped in stillness and silence, paying attention to its spiritual life, knows the “good shepherd” intimately well. So intimate that the community begins living the “good shepherd” life: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)