Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Jaime L. WatersMarch 18, 2021
Photo by Adam Kring on Unsplash.

In each of today’s readings, we are invited to recognize Christ’s resurrection not only as the guarantee of our salvation, but also as a reality that transforms how we live and how we serve others every day.

‘A good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.’ (Jn 10:11)

Liturgical day
Acts 4:8-12; Ps 118; 1 Jn 3:1-2; Jn 10:11-18

What are the implications of belief in salvation through Christ?

How can you help people to know Christ?

How do you deal with rejections or misunderstandings?

In the first reading, Peter is filled with the Holy Spirit. References to the Holy Spirit in Acts are noteworthy, as the Spirit guides, empowers and propels the Christian movement forward. Peter speaks boldly and directly to rulers, elders and scribes in Jerusalem.

The context for Peter’s speech is the day after his arrest. Peter had been arrested for healing a disabled person at the temple gate and for preaching that it happened on account of Jesus and the resurrection (Acts 3:1-10, 4:1-3). In today’s reading, we hear Peter’s public statement on the matter. He reaffirms that his power to heal was not from himself; rather, it came from Jesus Christ: “In his name this man stands before you healed.” Peter likewise proclaims that salvation is because of Christ’s resurrection. In his speech, Peter shows a clarity of insight that he often lacked in the Gospels. He more fully understands and is now able to teach others about Christ.

The second reading, from 1 John, builds on the idea of knowledge and understanding. The sermon talks about what it means to be children of God, who might have to contend with a world that lacks understanding. The sermon offers a reminder that echoes Peter’s speech, that the world did not know Christ, so it might not recognize his followers. Despite this, 1 John offers consolation, noting that understanding and revelation will come that will help more people to know Christ.

In the Gospel reading, from John, Jesus teaches his followers to understand his forthcoming death using the story of the good shepherd. Jesus says that unlike a person hired to watch over flocks, a good shepherd watches and is willing to give his life to protect his sheep from wolves. The shepherd is personally invested in the safety and well-being of the flock because they belong to him. In the story, the shepherd represents Jesus, and the sheep are his followers.

Notably, Jesus emphasizes the selflessness of the shepherd, insisting that he volunteers to protect his flock: “No one takes it [life] from me, but I lay it down on my own.” Jesus uses the story to teach truths that might be difficult for his followers to accept, expressing his willingness to die and declaring his connection to the Father.

Jesus’ sacrifice is a sign of his love and devotion to the world, and it is a revelation of his relationship to the Father: “This is why the Father loves me…. I have the power to lay it [life] down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father.”

As we continue through the Easter season and near the feast of Pentecost, we can draw on today’s readings for important insights about the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in the life of the church. Likewise, we can reflect on what belief in the resurrection means in our lives and the importance of Christ’s sacrifice for the salvation of all.

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

Feb. 5, 2023, The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: In the light of discipleship, salt represents a gift of the highest value.
Victor Cancino, S.J.February 01, 2023
Jan. 29, 2023, The Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: One of the Bible’s common motifs is that God honors those whom the world considers disgraced. The readings this Sunday illustrate dramatically this reversal of the status quo.
Victor Cancino, S.J.January 25, 2023
Jan. 22, 2023, The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time: Like the original disciples, as we observe and discern Jesus’ specific actions and words, we can catch glimpses of the light that leads us into the land of the living.
Victor Cancino, S.J.January 18, 2023
Like the light of the Mission Mountains, the full experience of Jesus' salvation is a reality that cannot be captured in word or image, but must be entered and experienced to be understood.
Victor Cancino, S.J.January 11, 2023