May 1, 2012 - Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Today's Readings

We live in the time of fulfillment. That which is prophesied in the psalm today has been fulfilled in our sight. All the nations praise the Lord. In every nation on earth, there are people who turn to Jerusalem as the holy city. God’s salvation has spread throughout the world. Jesus Christ poured out his Blood, as he told the Apostles, “For you and for many.”

Who were the “many” whom he was speaking about? It is us. We form just a small part of that many. Jesus told the Pharisees, “you are not among my sheep”, but we are among his sheep. We are gladly numbered among the innumerable sheep who follow the good shepherd. Innumerable to us who are incapable of counting so many, but to God it is numerable. God not only knows the number of his sheep, he knows each one of the many individually.

Jesus assures us that no one can take us out of his hand because no one can take us out of the Father’s hand because no one is greater than the Father. He says that he and the Father are one. This is the clearest declaration of the truth behind the doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity. Perhaps without this statement, a case could be made that Jesus is somehow less than the Father, that he is the greatest creature but not actually God, but with this statement, Jesus makes himself equal to God, which is why the next verse after our Gospel today is “The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him.”

So, if Jesus truly is God, as he said, and he has poured out his Blood for the many, as he said, and we, forming part of that many, part of his flock, cannot be taken out of his hand, as he said, the world begins to look different. There are still troubles, but who ever rejected a gold mine because of all the dirt mixed in? Life is hard, but so long as the gold is there, it is worth it.

Without Jesus our lives are meaningless as a sheep without a shepherd. Without Jesus, we wander around this life without any idea of why we keep going. What is the point? What is the purpose? But when we hear Jesus call our name, and we turn and follow him, joining his flock, we have a reason greater than ourselves, we have a treasure that Jesus calls eternal life.