April 17, 2016: Fourth Sunday of Easter

My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
No one can take them out of my hand. (John 10: 27–30)

            In the Easter season, we hear about sheep. I don’t have any experience with sheep, but I have grasped the hand of a friend who did not let go when I needed help.

            “I know my sheep and mine know me.” Knowing Jesus is an ongoing journey of discovery and surprise. Do we really know Jesus? And, more importantly, do we hear his voice and follow when there are so many busy voices calling for our attention?

            Paul grew in his understanding and knowing of Jesus. He was so convinced of the Gospel message that he traveled and endured hardships to extend Jesus’ message of light and life to anyone who listened.

            If we, like the sheep, listen and follow, then John’s vision of people from every nation and race standing together worshipping God comes true. Together, all people will have enough to eat and drink, will have life-giving water, and no tears or suffering.

            In all three readings, Jesus, the Lamb, and Paul, extend their hands to all people in an invitation to be in the light. This is not a demand but an invitation. Mercy lets people make choices, always extending the hand of invitation without blame or guilt. Can we be any less merciful?

Sr. Fran Raia, C.PP.S. (O’Fallon)

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