RCL Year B Easter 4
Acts 4:5–12, Psalm 23, I John 3:16–24, Saint John 10:11–18
If you are like me, it’s hard to keep feeling Easter-ish week after week, especially when the weather remains damp and cool. Easter, not the Day, but the whole fifty-day, eight-Sunday season, including the Day of Pentecost, is about the events by which you and I first became Christians: Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and in which we continue to participate through Baptism and the Eucharist. These fifty days celebrate those two Sacraments, by which we take part in the dying and rising of Jesus to eternal life.
So, here we are, gathered together on Good Shepherd Sunday, a flock who follows Jesus the Good Shepherd. Here we are, called into a new freedom of life in the risen Body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Here we are, the Christian family whose ministry it is to hold up to our society a better, more perfect, more human way to live. Here we are, people who, by Baptism and the Eucharist, are being transformed into disciples of Christ. Here we are, still in our journey toward God’s home—our true home—often as confused, stubborn, and clueless as a flock of sheep.
But this journey isn’t ours alone. As much as we may complain, as much as we look to other people to minister to our feelings, we have a shepherd. We are led, and we are fed. We have the Good Shepherd, the Patron of this Parish, the one who calls us each by name, who feeds us with Eucharistic food and quenches our thirst with living water. But, the Good Shepherd does more than this. He lays down his life for us, every day and every hour, not just on Good Friday from twelve to three. And in taking up his life again, in rising from the dead, Jesus destroys the power of death in us forever. Not just once. But once forever.
We could not celebrate that in one day, Easter Day, no matter how hard we tried, or how many hymns and processions we offered to the resurrected Lord, or how many candles we lighted. It takes at least fifty days. Come to think of it, celebrating the death of death in us takes the whole of our lives.