Pondering for Sunday, April 30, 2023

Eucharistic Readings for the 4th Sunday of Easter: Year A

Acts 2:42-47Psalm 231 Peter 2:19-25John 10:1-10:

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.” (John 10: 1)

In my youth I worked with my dad in the long distance moving business. My dad painstakingly loaded his moving van.  I thought it was a lot of work that could be done a lot easier. But as I learned, there were two good reasons for loading household items tightly.  First, the tighter they were packed the less likely anything was going to be broken. Second, by loading one household tightly there could be more space to pick up another household.  My dad said, “No short cuts.”

There are no short cuts to being who God made us to be.  I began my journey to the priesthood asking my then bishop to let me just read for orders.  We called it Canon 9 in those days.  It was a way of accelerating the ordination process and filling the need of parishes needing priests. The bishop listened patiently. After my detailed presentation the bishop gave me a piece of paper with the names of three seminaries on it. There will be no short cuts, he said.

There are three words to remember here, and they are awareness, will, and ability.  Ability should be the least of our concerns. First and foremost is awareness.  Awareness means you know about the situation or problem.  Next is the will.  Are you willing to act to resolve the situation? If you are even thinking about your “ability” you begin to eliminate God working with you.  David took on Goliath without hesitation because he trusted that God is with him.  David, a shepherd, entered the sheepfold by the gate. Later, his son Solomon, assuming leadership of all Israel, was aware of the huge responsibility he had, and willing to do the work, he prayed to God to “enable” him to do the work.

There is only one proper way to enter the sheepfold and that is by the gate.  The gate today may be the proper procedures set up for whatever that sheepfold might look like in your particular situation. It may be education and the proper training in how to do the work.  The gate may be licensing as in the medical field or law. The first Gate for Christians is our Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus tells us that He is the Gate. The gate is the proper way to enter whatever sheepfold you want to enter. If we, as Christians, can’t see our Lord Jesus as the Gate of our vocation, then we are looking at the wrong sheepfold.

Please keep up your thoughts and prayers and hopes for Ukraine, Russia, Sudan, South Sudan and our schools.

As we listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us, let us live to love and serve, and to teach others to love and serve, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John

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