Today, the 4th Sunday of Easter, we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. Any kind of shepherd you can think of–you have a shepherd and the sheep behind him, following from behind. That’s not good enough for Jesus.
What makes Jesus the Good Shepherd is that he doesn’t just want us to follow him at a distance, from afar, to follow behind him. He wants us to be in him and he wants to be in us.
Today we celebrate first communion at the 8:45am Mass and 3pm Mass. Jesus wants to be in us, and he wants us to remain in him. He doesn’t leave us on our own to follow him behind. He comes within. God in us, us in God.
This is what St Peter says today in our first reading. Listen to what Peter says: “There is no salvation through anyone else,nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”
This is a lot like John 3, where Jesus says that only he can go to heaven. No one else. It’s impossible for any of us to get to heaven by ourselves. We can only do that if we’re in Jesus…who is the resurrection.
Peter is saying that we have no hope without being in the Lord….no hope for eternal salvation, and no hope from salvation from our problems on earth.
A lot of people look to all kinds of saviors and shepherds to rescue them and guide them to greener pastures–money, Dr. Phil, Opera, bigger houses, more stuff, nicer cars, drugs. If I only get this thing or that thing, we delude ourselves, then I’ll be okay.
None of that saves us. Only Jesus can do that. Salvation–eternal and earthly–is only in Jesus.
Another thought–today is Good Shepherd Sunday. We pray that God will give us many more holy, good priests.