April 23, 2018 – Monday in the 4th Week of Easter

  Saint for the day:: George (c. 280 – April 23, 303)

 Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:

Acts 11:1-18 – Psalm 42 – John 10:1-10

 “Jesus said, ‘I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep … I know mine and mine know me.’” (John 10:11, 13)

 Of all the “I Ams” in John’s Holy Gospel, this “Good Shepherd” title – along with “The Bread of Life” – are probably the most well-known since they tell us of the protection and sustenance that God provides for His own. Along with these two titles comes the charge to go out from our comfort zones to seek out the lost and forsaken so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. In today’s first Holy Scripture from the Acts of the Apostles we are invited to be in St. Peter’s shoes as he learns that the joy he has received must be shared with – God forbid! – Gentiles! He has a vision of a huge sheet coming down from heaven and carried by angels. On the sheet are four-legged animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the sky. When Peter is invited to eat he refuses on the grounds that some of the things are profane or unclean. Remember: the apostles and early disciples still followed the strict, Jewish laws regarding food and it took three times for the voice from God to try convincing Peter to eat. I can’t imagine that Peter didn’t catch the connection between this and his three-time denial of Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. There is also the three-time question of the Resurrected Jesus: “Peter, do you love me?”

 Bottom line: Peter finally gets the picture and agrees to accompany these men without discriminating. To his surprise, when he began speaking the Holy Spirit fell upon them … just as it had fallen upon the disciples in the locked, upper room! Imagine his surprise that “God has then granted life-giving repentance to the Gentiles too.” This is such an important concept – not only for the early Church – but also for all of us: “God’s gift of salvation is for everyone!” This is a perfect tie-in to today’s Holy Gospel of the God Shepherd: “That there be one flock and one Shepherd.”

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