Saint for the day: Apollonius the Apologist (died 185)
Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:
Acts 11:1-18 – Psalm 42 – John 10:1-10
“Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. … I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”(John 10: 7ff)
In this Monday in the 4th Week of Easter we continue with the Good Shepherd theme from yesterday’s Liturgy so it must be important for us to hear some more of that aspect of how Jesus draws believers in to the life that only He can give. When the Holy Gospel tells us, “all who came before me are thieves and robbers…” we have to be sure that we are following a “be-here now” messiah and not some “fly-by-night would-be preacher. When Simon Peter and the others get to the man’s house all they did was to tell the man how the Holy Spirit came down upon them when they prayed and the same thing happened to this gentile in his own home. The importance of this passage is the fact that the disciples realized that they weren’t just being blessed in order to feel good about themselves but were actually beginning the evangelistic phase of the new Church which is energized in the act of going out to others. Today’s Holy Gospel continues with the same theme as yesterday with the continuation of the sheepfold and the shepherd images. The importance of staying with this theme reminds us of the real definition of “sheepfold.” The “sheepfold” gave the flock protection during the darkness of night and the “sheepgate” made sure that only those recognized as belonging to the fold got in and were guaranteed protection. If we jump to a “bottom line” we should be able to see that we have to have some level of awareness of Jesus in our life in order to prosper and not die needlessly. What is it that brings us into that level of recognizing Jesus and being recognized by Him? We have to have some awareness of being a part of the life of Jesus that begins with prayer and is sustained by our desire to follow Jesus and be a part of the life that only He can give. Ritual prayer is certainly important but it has to be supported by a more constant seeking of oneness with Jesus/God in every aspect of our lives. Amen!