Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle A

Fourth Sunday of Easter

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John 10: 1-10

"I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full"

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who leads us into the fullness of life. But what is this life that Jesus offers “to the full”? Too often in the past it has been defined purely in terms of the after-life, as something utterly other-worldly, life in heaven. In contrast, Jesus showed real concern for life here and now, life in this world. The life he offers is life in union with God both here and now and hereafter, eternal life. It is granted to us in baptism – life in Christ through the indwelling of the Spirit. This life, based on faith and expressed in love, is given to us now and will continue into eternity.

The Good Shepherd calls us “one by one” to follow him, calls each one of us to be his disciple. Christian life is not simply a life of ritual observances, but a life of discipleship. We have not been called to follow rules, necessary as they may be, but to follow a person, Jesus Christ. And to follow Christ, to be his disciples, does not mean that we merely imitate him, but that we actually participate in his life, we embody his living presence in today’s world.

We who seek to follow him must learn to “know his voice”, accepting the message and person of Jesus as the source of our own vision and understanding of life, so that his way of life becomes ours. He invites us to allow his own Spirit to be fully alive and active within us in the everyday circumstances of our own lives, at home, at work and at play. He wants to guide us increasingly with the light of his life that it may be the basic norm of our own judgements and choices.

Thus will the Good Shepherd include us in his mission of building a world of love and a human family of mutual understanding. In Jesus alone is the fullness of life, and he would have us share it.