Easter4A20. Acts of the Apostles 2:14a, 36-41. Peter “proclaimed: “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified,” “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart.” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized.” “Those who accepted this message were baptized, and about three thousand persons were added that day.” Jesus in Luke 8:15 said, “But for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.” Among the people that heard the words of Peter there were many who were like the good soil that God had prepared to be open to Peter’s words, the good seed. The Pharisees on the other hand were hard-hearted and rejected Jesus. The gift who prepares us daily to be good soil till the day we die is the Holy Spirit.
John 10:1-10. Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep.” “Whoever enters through me will be saved, will come and go out and find pasture.” “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” Jesus daily helps us to grow in holiness, the good soil. He feeds us with the life that only he has, a share in his divine life, his holiness. “The Pharisees did not realize” that he was calling them the thieves and robbers who used their position as religious leaders to feed themselves and not the flock. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” By his suffering, death and resurrection he open the gate to heaven for all of us who follow him who is not only the gate but also the shepherd. (John 10:11) He cares for us so much that despite the fact that he is gloriously almighty, each one of us is like a sheep who is dear to him, our shepherd. The imagery of us being sheep is a call for us to be so humble and docile that we willingly and lovingly follow and obey him.
1 Peter 2:20b-25. To be a follower of Jesus meant at the time of the first Christians to suffer and be ridiculed. Our answer to that suffering then and now is to willingly suffer as Jesus suffered for us joining our suffering to his. Jesus has shepherded us by offering himself up as the innocent lamb that was sacrificed for sinners. “By his wounds we have been healed, for you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.”