4th Sunday of Easter – April 25, 2021

East4B21.     Acts of the Apostles 4:8-12.    Following the cure of the crippled beggar in Acts 3, Peter, standing before the Sanhedrin in Acts 4, was filled with the Holy Spirit.  Although it was the person of Peter and his voice that was heard, it was the Holy Spirit who spoke through him.  When they heard Peter, they were hearing God, made audible through the voice of Peter, God’s spokesperson.  Jesus said in John 14:26: “The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.”   Peter declared in today’s first reading, “It was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean” that “this man stands before you healed.  He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.  There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”   Through Jesus, and only through Jesus, do we have salvation!

John 10:11-18.     Jesus identifies himself as the good shepherd, who loves his sheep so dearly that he lays down his life for them in contrast to the hired man who only loves the profit he can get out of it for himself.   Because the good shepherd cares so deeply for his sheep, they have come to know and love him dearly.  The good shepherd wants all sheep to be able to receive his love and caring.  So he reaches out to other sheep who are not of this present fold.  Jesus has learned and acquired the desire to know and to love from his relationship with the Father in which each know and love one another.  Jesus’ love for the sheep has led him to freely offer himself up as a sacrifice on the cross so they may be saved.  His sacrificial offering was in obedience to the will of the Father who is love.  Jesus does all out of love for us.  Jesus pours out his life into us so that we may have life forever.

1 John 3:1-2.   Jesus said in John 3:3b, “No one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.”  His love for us makes us children of God, begotten by God as long as we draw our life out of his love for us as the source of our life.  In 1 John 4:15-16 we read: “Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God.  We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.” Paul writes in Philippians 3:8a, “More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Through the power of the Holy Spirit we come to know Jesus personally, our good shepherd who cares for us as his own on our way to heaven through this life that is filled with many dangers.  “What we shall be has not been revealed.  We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he.”  Paul goes on to write in Philippians 3:21, “He will change our lowly body to conform with his glorified body by the power that enables him also to bring all things into subjection to himself.”  Through the power of God those who belong to God will be remade into the image and likeness of Jesus.