Sunday Reading: Fourth Sunday of Easter (C)
Acts 13, 14, 43-52
Revelation 7, 9,14-17
“The Father and I are one,” Jesus says in John’s gospel. The role given to God in the Old Testament –the Good Shepherd– is also his role. He guides humanity and the world to their destiny. He’s not the shepherd of one nation or small group. He’s not the leader of a small cult, a teacher among teachers. He is the Good Shepherd of all, who calls all to his flock and whose message is for all.
Today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes a split in the church. As Paul and Barnabas preach in Antioch in Pisidia, Jewish Christians oppose the number of gentiles welcoming the gospel, and so limit the nature of the church. “We now turn to the gentiles,” Paul says. By this decision, the message of Jesus will be brought to the ends of the earth and the church takes on a more universal configuration. What configuration is our church taking today?
In the Book of Revelations John sees a “crowd that no one can number” standing before God’s throne, which is also the throne of the Lamb. “The Lamb will shepherd them” and “he will lead them to springs of life-giving waters, and God will wash away every tear from their eyes.” In Revelations, the Risen Christ reminds us to keep an eye, not only on the present, but on “what is to come.”