Here is an eye-opening pair of readings! The Epistle (attributed St Peter) refers to Jesus as Shepherd and Bishop. Since all apostolic lineage traces to St Peter, that says something because St Peter would be the most likely mortal to be referred to as shepherd and Bishop.
Then the Gospel tells of the difference between a shepherd and the hireling who might watch sheep when the shepherd can’t. And then, also, the statement that he has sheep not of that fold, and they know his voice. And there are all kinds of implications there.
Today, we have the Gospel story of Jesus’ first encounter with the Disciples after his resurrection, and an Epistle reading that complements that story quite well. The Disciples were doubtless wondering what they were to do next, and they are given the answer as well as being equipped to fulfill that.
I’m inviting you to look at the whole story from another angle. In the Gospel today, we have the Good Friday story that takes you from Jesus’ arrest through his death. The story is familiar to all but a very few. But there is another angle to the story.
Can you imagine the investment The Divine had to make in all of this, in order to bring it off? And imagine having to leave a nice place like Heaven to dwell among people like us, and then having to die an infamously painful and humiliating death!
Just how much did The Divine invest in bringing this off?
People have always had a hard time dealing with anything that does not fit their preconceived notions. Why would the entrenched religious establishment of Jesus’ time be any different?
That’s especially true because Jesus was the one they had been waiting for for centuries. All of the prophecies pointed to him. The one problem was that he didn’t match with the preconceived notions of the religious establishment in charge of Judaism and the Temple at that time.
And the result is a nasty encounter.
All that, and Holy Eucharist too!
We hear the story of the loaves and fishes all the time, or so it seems. But what of the epistle for this Sunday?
Life is about choices, especially our spiritual lives. And here we see a comparison made between the child of Sarah and the child of Hagar. Sarah’s child is born of God’s promise. Hagar’s child is born of the flesh like any other child.
And if you understand who those two sons of Abraham are, you’ll see how it even applies today!
All that, and Holy Eucharist too!
We hear the story of the three temptations Jesus faced in the desert, but how often have you taken a real look at them. This was an eye-opener for me.
Each one of his temptations is of the same nature as a temptation most of us could face at some time in or lives. The challenge is to recognize it and face it! And some forms of these temptations can be really appealing.
We all face temptations. The question is what we do with them.
In this last Sunday before Lent, we have some scripture readings worth considering. One of the basic purposes of Lent is to take the opportunity to see if we are “on course”, and these help.
The epistle speaks of charity. Given the various mis-uses of the word, I suggest we (myself, too) reflect on the word as St Paul intended it to mean. And, of all gifts we can have, none is greater than charity. In fact, it would seem that charity makes the others be effective. A point to ponder considering some things going on in the world.
And then, the story of Jesus as he begins his journey to Jerusalem. And a blind man calls to Jesus for help. Do you notice that in the Gospels, people in need tell Jesus that they are in need, with none of the “if it’s your will” stuff? Perhaps it might mean that our prayers should be insistent?