Sunday, 12 May 2019
Good Shepherd Sunday, 4th Sunday Easter, Year C
Today, I’d like us to consider where we are going in life.
Many people seem to be going nowhere. They may be going to Tesco and back. To the TV and back. To the kitchen and back. But with no real purpose beyond this. Living for comfort, living for rest, but nothing more.
Life, if it is to be WORTH living, needs a meaning, a purpose, a DESTINATION.
At the eternal level, our destination for eternity, there is the issue of heaven and hell.
If we’re going somewhere important, getting the destination RIGHT is crucial.
More than once, I’ve plugged a destination into Google Maps and failed to get to the destination, because the map was wrong.
Today we keep ‘Good Shepherd Sunday”, and one of the things that the Lord Jesus has revealed about Himself as our Shepherd is that He KNOWS where He is going.
Jesus knows the way to heaven because He came FROM there.
Jesus knows the way to heaven because He RETURNed there.
Jesus shows us the REALITY of heaven by His resurrection from the dead.
Jesus SHOWS the way to heaven because even though He is shepherd He is also the LAMB:
Our second reading today says this directly: “the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them”(Rev 7:17).
He has come among us, He has become ONE of us, He has taken our flesh as human.
He thus “leads” us as one like us.
But what is the destination?
Scripture repeatedly speaks of the sheep being led to “living water”(Rev 7:17), “still waters”(Ps 22:2).
Scripture uses water as a symbol of life.
For us in England, water might not seem important. We have lots of rain, lots of water.
But for most of the humanity, water is precious, water is life.
There is good water, and dirty water. Water that is healthy, and water that brings sickness and destruction.
God, the source of life itself, is thus described as “LIVING water” -if you want life, you need to find Him..
Let us turn to another aspect of the shepherd, that we hear in our Gospel text: the “voice” (Jn 10:27).
God leads us, but we need to know how to recognise His voice.
This is part of why we pray for priestly vocations on this Sunday:
God speaks to us, God leads us, through His Church.
Part of what we celebrate on Good Shepherd Sunday is that He gives us His guidance in the sacraments, in the Bible, in the Catechism.
To recognise His voice is to know the way to the living water.
To recognise His voice is to know true life.
To sum this up,
For life to have meaning it needs a DESTINATION: Jesus has shown us the destination, eternal life.
For life to have security, we need to be LED there: Jesus is the shepherd who leads us.
For the destination to be CERTAIN, we need guidance along the way by one LIKE us:
Jesus is the Shepherd over us who is also the Lamb among us,
who also gives us His priests, His sacraments, His teaching.
Many people spend life going nowhere more exciting that Tesco.
There is, in contrast, another destination we can know:
God Himself, the living water,
and the Good Shepherd is both the destination and the way.