Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sunday Readings - Fourth Sunday in Easter

In the first reading, we see the apostles following the command of Christ, and the consternation of the religious professionals who thought they had eliminated a problem, only to find they have more problems than before. The rejected stone has now become many stones, enough to build the city on the hill, and too many to be disposed of easily.

The psalm echoes one of the patterns of the Hebrew Scriptures, that is it not the first-born son who inherits, but the one society and convention would reject: Isaac inherits, not Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, David over his elder brothers. In the Magnificat, Mary notes this as well. In Acts, the religious professionals note that the apostles are "men of no standing," echoing the objection of the guild prophets to Amos, the "amateur" prophet. The second reading explains the worldly rejection as a rejection of God, for God is not best represented by the survival of the fittest, but rather by an arithmetic entirely outside our ken. We are only called to recognize and embrace the fresh, new things God is always doing and reject the status quo when called to do so.

In the Gospel, we are reminded again that in our Good Shepherd alone is there someone worthy of trust. As was said elsewhere in the gospels, many came before, and indeed are still coming, who are in it for the immediate rewards. A major pitfall in business, as we have seen, is the favoring of short-term gains over stewardship, and it is the same here. Jesus is in it for the right reasons, simply doing the will of the Father, loving us with no reason but love, and by that love making us more than we have been. We do not seem to hear his voice as well as we must, and this is a mystery, for it is in our best interest to listen for him. Perhaps even the sheep are suffering from myopia and are too caught up in the short term to see past the next grassy hill?

Readings for today
Acts 4:8-12
Ps 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28, 29
1 Jn 3:1-2
Jn 10:11-18

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