May 3, 2020
Fourth Sunday of Easter A
Fr. Ed Smith
Acts 2:14a, 36-41; 1 Peter 2:20b-25; John 10:1-10
Among the many important celebrations that have been put on hold this spring because of the corona virus, one that I will miss most is the First Communion of our Second Grade Class. Most of us probably remember our First Communion, whether it was one year ago, or, like me, 56 years ago. We will still celebrate this wonderful moment in the lives of these young people, and the life of the Church, but in order to help keep us all healthy, we will delay it this year. But no matter when it happens, every year a new group of children are brought closer to Jesus through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Every year we celebrate with them as they receive this gift of Jesus. It is His way of saying, “I love you” to all of us. It is our way of being as close as possible to Jesus, our friend, our brother and our Good Shepherd. And this image of Jesus our Shepherd is found in one of the earliest Christian paintings on the wall of an ancient catacomb in Rome. And, amazingly, after almost 1900 years, the colors and the image are still startling in their vividness. This painting shows Jesus carrying a sheep on His shoulders, and bringing His lost lamb home. From the earliest days of our Church, Christians understood that Jesus is the Shepherd and guardian of our lives. Because of Him, we know we are not alone in our journey. Jesus makes it better. Jesus gives us the confidence that comes from trust in a loving God who is willing to carry His little ones on His very shoulders. And not only that, as we get closer to Jesus through our reception of the Eucharist, we realize how blessed we are that we are in a relationship with the divine Son of God, who triumphed over sin and death, who shares Himself with us in the Eucharist, and who calls us to live with Him forever. As we begin to understand this, we also start to realize who WE really are: brothers and sisters of Jesus who is mighty Lord, Good Shepherd, and best friend. He is the King of all creation who shares Himself in bread and wine. During this Easter season we celebrate our relationship with this magnificent friend. And we join our Second Grade Students as they prepare to receive Jesus the Good Shepherd in the Eucharist.