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4th Sunday of Easter :: 2008

4th Sunday of Easter :: 2008

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4
th
Sunday of Easter – The Fullness of Life or Mediocrity 04-13-08Scripture ReadingsFirst
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
Second
1 Peter 2:20b-25
Gospel
John 10:1-10Prepared by: Fr. Jonathan Kalisch, OP1.
Subject Matter
 
 
Jesus offers his disciples the opportunity in following Him, to enjoy the fullness of life in Hissheepfold (grace upon grace and the Cross). The alternative is a life of existence withouttrue meaning - in which one is preyed upon by the forces which deny meaning in life.2.
Exegetical Notes
 
In John, the authentic believer can be seen in the image of the sheep that belong to theGood Shepherd: they hear (
akousousin 
) his voice (1:41, 3:8, 29; 4:42; 5:24, 28; 6:45; 8:38,43; 10:3, 16) and follow (
akolouthousin 
) him (1:37, 44; 8:12; 10:4, 5) so that He might givethem eternal life (
zoe anionios 
) (3:15, 16, 36; 4:14, 36; 5:24, 39; 6:27, 40, 47, 54, 68), so thatthey may never be lost (
ou me apolontai eis ton aiona 
) (3:16; 6:12, 27, 39; 10:10.)
 
The Pharisees are compared to thieves, bandits, and hirelings; they are not among thesheep given Jesus by the Father because to be among the sheep, one must be “
of God 
(8:47) and “
of the truth 
” (8:37). On the contrary, the disciples both hear His voice and knowwho He is (Mt 11:25).
 
Jesus is the sheepgate. Just as sheep enter and leave the sheepfold only through a gate, soentry to God’s fold (the abundance of life) is only through the gate of Jesus. Note thecontrast between life in the sheepfold and life outside: it is the fullness of life that one hasaccess to through Jesus the Gate – not just mere existence where one is preyed upon byrobbers and bandits – but life that truly shares in the life of God, with the riches of grace, andof ultimate meaning and existence (see John 1:1:4, 16).3.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
 
 
CCC 754: “The Church is, accordingly, a
sheepfold 
, the sole and necessary gateway towhich is Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be theshepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are unfailingly
 
nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince of Shepherds, who gavehis life for his sheep.”
 
CCC 618:
The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God andmen". But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to everyman, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery"is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to "take up (their) cross and follow (him)", for"Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example so that (we) should follow in his steps."In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its firstbeneficiaries. This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associatedmore intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. Apart fromthe cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven.
 
CCC 2159
: The name one receives is a name for eternity. In the kingdom, the mysteriousand unique character of each person marked with God's name will shine forth in splendor."To him who conquers . . . I will give a white stone, with a new name written on the stonewhich no one knows except him who receives it." "Then I looked, and Lo, on Mount Zionstood the Lamb, and with him a hundred and forty- four thousand who had his name and hisFather's name written on their foreheads."4.
Patristic Commentary
 
 
Augustine
: When our Lord then was speaking on this occasion, He said, that He is “theShepherd,” He said also that He is “the Door.” You find them both in that place, both “I amthe Door” and “I am the Shepherd.” In the Head He is the Door, the Shepherd in the Body.For He saith to Peter, in whom singly He formeth the Church; “Peter, lovest thou Me?” Heanswered, “Lord, I do love Thee.” “Feed My sheep.” And a third time, “Peter, lovest thouMe?” “Peter was grieved because He asked him the third time;” as though He who saw theconscience of the dealer, saw not the confessor’s faith. He had known him always, hadknown him even when Peter had not known himself. For he did not know himself at that timewhen he said,” I will be with Thee even unto death;” and how infirm he was he knew not.…Therefore, after His resurrection the Lord questioned him, not as being ignorant with whata heart he would confess the love of Christ, but that he might by a threefold confession oflove, efface the threefold denial of fear.5.
Examples from the Saints and Other Exemplars
 
 
St. Catherine of Sienna: “The pilgrim, having passed the Bridge, arrives at the door which ispart of the Bridge, at which all must enter(
Jn 10,9 
), wherefore He says: 'I am the Way, theTruth, and the Life, he who follows Me does not walk in darkness, but in light(
Jn 14,6  Jn 8,12 
).' And in another place My Truth says, 'That no man can come to Me if not by Him,' andso indeed it is. Therefore He says of Himself that He is the Road, and this is the truth, and Ihave already shown you that He is a Road in the form of the Bridge. And He says that He isthe Truth, and so He is, because He is united with Me who am the Truth, and he who followsHim, walks in the Truth, and in Life, because he who follows this Truth receives the life ofgrace, and cannot faint from hunger, because the Truth has become your food, nor fall in thedarkness, because He is light without any falsehood.”
 
6.
Quotes
 
 
Pope Benedict XVI,
Spe Salvi 
27:
In this sense it is true that anyone who does not knowGod, even though he may entertain all kinds of hopes, is ultimately without hope, without thegreat hope that sustains the whole of life (cf.
Ep 2,12 
). Man's great, true hope which holdsfirm in spite of all disappointments can only be God—God who has loved us and whocontinues to love us “to the end,” until all “is accomplished” (cf.
Jn 13,1
and
Jn 19,30 
).Whoever is moved by love begins to perceive what “life” really is. He begins to perceive themeaning of the word of hope that we encountered in the Baptismal Rite: from faith I await“eternal life”—the true life which, whole and unthreatened, in all its fullness, is simply life.Jesus, who said that he had come so that we might have life and have it in its fullness, inabundance (cf.
Jn 10,10 
), has also explained to us what “life” means: “this is eternal life, thatthey know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (
Jn 17,3 
). Life in itstrue sense is not something we have exclusively in or from ourselves: it is a relationship. Andlife in its totality is a relationship with him who is the source of life. If we are in relation withhim who does not die, who is Life itself and Love itself, then we are in life. Then we “live”.
 
Pope John Paul II,
Evangelium Vitae 
1
: When he presents the heart of his redemptivemission, Jesus says: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" In truth, he isreferring to that "new" and "eternal" life which consists in communion with the Father, towhich every person is freely called in the Son by the power of the Sanctifying Spirit. It isprecisely in this "life" that all the aspects and stages of human life achieve their fullsignificance.
 
Pope John Paul II,
Veritatis Splendor 
19
: It is Jesus himself who takes the initiative andcalls people to follow him. His call is addressed first to those to whom he entrusts a particularmission, beginning with the Twelve; but it is also clear that every believer is called to be afollower of Christ (cf. Acts
Ac 6,1
).
Following Christ is thus the essential and primordial foundation of Christian morality 
: just as the people of Israel followed God who led themthrough the desert towards the Promised Land (cf. Ex
Ex 13,21
), so every disciple mustfollow Jesus, towards whom he is drawn by the Father himself (cf. Jn
Jn 6,44 
).
 
Pope John Paul II,
Veritatis Splendor 
19:
This is not a matter only of disposing oneself tohear a teaching and obediently accepting a commandment. More radically, it involves
holding fast to the very person of Jesus 
, partaking of his life and his destiny, sharing in his free andloving obedience to the will of the Father. By responding in faith and following the one who isIncarnate Wisdom, the disciple of Jesus truly becomes
a disciple of God 
(cf. Jn
Jn 6,45 
).Jesus is indeed the light of the world, the light of life (cf. Jn
Jn 8,12 
). He is the shepherd wholeads his sheep and feeds them (cf. Jn
Jn 10,11-16 
); he is the way, and the truth, and the life(cf. Jn
Jn 14,6 
). It is Jesus who leads to the Father, so much so that to see him, the Son, is tosee the Father (cf.
Jn 14,6-10 
). And thus to imitate the Son, "the image of the invisible God"(
Col 1,15 
), means to imitate the Father.
 
Luigi Giussani
: “The experience of goodness is the encounter with an attitude that valuesand enhances us and gives us hope for what we shall become; it is ‘peace on earth,’ for Godis good because He saves us. Redemption is the announcement of the positive in life.”
 
Luigi Giussani
: “The word ‘encounter’ implies, first, something unexpected and surprising.Second, it implies something real, that really touches us, is of interest to our lives…each

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