Fourth Sunday of Easter
You can find today’s readings here.
Jesus is our good Shepherd, the one who will unite us, protect us, heal us, and save us. I love how He says, in referencing His sheep, “I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” For us to know Christ as He knows the Father, is so profound! Christ and the Father are one with the Holy Spirit, they cannot know each other any more or any less, they are in perfect union. And here Jesus says that we, his sheep, can know him with this sort of union. Just how can we know Christ in this same manner?
During the Annunciation, when the Blessed Virgin Mary was approached by St. Gabriel and told she would bear a son, her response is often translated to, “How can this be, since I have known not man?” (Lk 1) Here “known” speaks of a physical intimacy (hopefully coupled with an intellectual intimacy).
In the passage following today’s selection from the Gospel of John, Jesus says that He gives his sheep “eternal life”. The last time Jesus spoke of giving his followers eternal life is back in John 6, during the Bread of Life Discourse, preparing the way for the Eucharist, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” (Jn 6:54)
I can’t help but see the Eucharist being spoken of here, as the primary way we are to know Christ as Christ knows the Father, and as the primary way Christ unites us such that there is “one flock, one shepherd.” Likely Christ was referencing bringing the Gentiles into the fold with the Jews. However in light of the Eucharist I think of how at each mass, each day, around the world all of Christ’s flock on Earth is united in time and space to His Sacrifice on the cross in Calvary when, as Jesus foretold he would do in the gospel “I lay down my life in order to take it up again” At the mass we are a united flock, the entire Church, Militant, Suffering and Triumphant, to our one Shepherd! Hallelujah!