2nd Sunday after Easter 30.4.17 Church and Christ
We have an image of Our Lord with the sheep around His shoulders, and that sheep is each of us, finding safety.
Where is He bringing us? It is not so much a place as a way of life. The sheepfold of the Good Shepherd is where the sheep behave like the Shepherd (cf today’s epistle).
The Catholic Church is often accused of being narrow and exclusive, but in fact it is extremely inclusive. Our invitation list is every name in the world. We want people to join us. We are as welcoming as could possibly be.
There are certain conditions of entry, but even they are only to enhance the happiness of those who do accept the invitation.
We do not have a ghetto mentality or a holier-than-thou mentality, but a let’s-seek-Christ mentality.
Wherever you are at this moment in your life, as near or as far from God as imaginable, He is calling you.
As to whether we are clean enough to come into His presence, He will make us clean. His presence sanctifies us as we draw close to Him. cf converts like St Matthew, Zacchaeus, Mary Magdalen. When we encounter His goodness our attachment to sin will fall away like an old rag.
When He calls a sheep He calls a sheep; He does a complete job.
He intends more than just physical protection, He is seeking the complete transformation of each person in Himself.
So He calls each of us. We are called as sheep, and to share in the role of shepherd.
As sheep, we are to submit ourselves to the healing merciful power of God, and to let him do in us whatever He wants to do.
And then, ourselves to take on the shepherding view, as we seek to bring in others.
We offer to others the hope that they can be saved, and find the joy and peace that can be found only in Christ.
In all the false and misleading religions and philosophies of life, this one is True, and this is the way to come.
We do not say this with any sense of superiority to others.
We are aware of our own unworthiness.
We do not say, join us because we are such good companions, but because He is here!
We offer the truth, and the sacramental power to back it up.
In the Saviour we find Love and Truth working together, without friction.
We can have truth without being smug and superior. We can have love without obscuring the truth.
The truth as taught by the Church, is meant to shed light, not to make it harder. So many plead with the Church to ‘make it easier’ by discarding much of the teaching. This would only obscure the face of Christ, and the Church would be submerged with all the false ideas around
We can have it all at the same time – the theory and the practice, the light to light up our way, and the grace to motivate us to travel that way.
Christ wants this for everyone, and knowing us inside and out, He can help with precisely what is needed in each person’s case.
In the meantime He goes out looking, offering moments of grace if the person is sensitive to the moment. May everyone grasp that moment of grace, leading to conversion, when it comes looking for them. When He knocks, may He find us at home!