RCL Year C, Easter 4
Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, Saint John 10:22-30

As we said today in the Shepherd’s Psalm, our “cup is running over.”[1]

Firstly, today is Good Shepherd Sunday, the day of the Church Year when we pray, in the Collect of the Day, “Jesus is the good shepherd of your people.”[2] The Gospel and the Psalm reflect the image of Jesus as Good Shepherd. I like to think the Good Shepherd is our Patron, and today is our Patronal Feast.

Secondly, it is Mothers’ Day, the day in our civil calendars that we celebrate and honor every family’s mother and the influence the mothers have in the world. Mother’s Day under one name or another is celebrated in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. In our country the Day is always the second Sunday in May.

The website salary.com ran a story in 2018 that a Mom’s worth in salary was then $162,581, an increase of five thousand dollars over the previous year. Stay-at-home Mothers work more than ninety hours a week in unwavering dedication on behalf of their families.

How can we not see the sacrifice that they make in the sacrifice that Jesus makes? How can we not see their sacrifices are part of each other?

Let’s look at the Gospel. Jesus declares to his skeptics, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.”[3] Jesus is the Good Shepherd not simply because he says he gives us eternal life. He is the Good Shepherd because he lays down his life for the sheep. And so quite clearly the Passover Lamb who is sacrificed becomes the Good Shepherd, by being raised by God his Father, whose voice guides us to eternal life. As a Lamb he is a victim whose resurrection shows him to be the Good Shepherd whose priesthood is to bring us to God. Good Shepherd, Lamb, victim, and priest all reveal to us something of Christ’s identity, something of his being. On the third day, he rose again and is life everlasting.

And so we can rejoice that our Patron is the Good Shepherd. We can see him in the innumerable sacrifices our Mothers made for us. He is the one who calls us into fellowship with God; he is the one who dies and is buried so that we might live. She is the one who protected and defended us when we were most vulnerable, and he is the one who protects and defends us for time and for eternity.

[1] Psalm 23:5.

[2] BCP, page 225.

[3] Saint John 10:27-28a.