Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sun. May 15, 2011 (Veronica Dyck)

Each of the three cycles of the liturgical year has the fourth Sunday of Easter focus on the Good Shepherd. Veronica Dyck noted that while we know about 'racks of lamb' in restaurants, we never observe the actual raising of sheep, particularly in the wilderness and mountains. In the day's text (John 10), Jesus referred to himself as being the gate. Traditionally, the shepherd provided pastures for his sheep (who could not find them independently), protected the sheep (who were defenseless), and named each sheep (being able to account for each throughout the day). Shepherds frequently shared sheep enclosures for the night with other flocks and shepherds, sometimes even in caves where the sheep could be safe. Sometimes the shepherd actually lay across the doorless gateway to an enclosure in order to waken if predators approached and tried to enter. In the morning, each shepherd would call his sheep and only his sheep would follow. Jesus therefore spoke to his rural sheep-raising audience by referring to himself both as "the gate", and as the good shepherd, saying that "my sheep know my voice" and "I know them by name." By contrast, Jesus said that men who did not enter the enclosure through the gate were surely thieves (as his listeners would have readily agreed). His reference to thieves possibly referred to the wealthy temple class which freely fleeced worshipers without nurturing or assisting them. The worst fate some prophets could predict for Judah was that they would become like a scattered flock without good leadership. Psalm 23 suggests that even when our lives take us through valleys we never wished to travel, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, will be with us. [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, May 15th, 2011 using your browser's preferred media player.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home