We are living in a difficult and worrying time and the pandemic has shaken our world. We can feel the stress of it weighing on us in so many ways, however, as Christians we are called to give witness to Christ and to be people of hope and Eastertide reminds us of what it is to be a follower of the Lord.
So, this revelation of Christ as the Good Shepard s a welcome one. We are all in the hands of God who knows us far better than we know ourselves, and who cares for is more graciously and effectively than we could even care for ourselves.
It was really just this insight that sparked the enthusiasm of the apostles in their earliest preaching. The kind of enthusiasm about the nearness of God that Peter reflects in the first reading. John and he had just finished healing a cripple, an act for which they had been arrested and forced to make an explanation. Peter’s explanation is that there should be nothing surprising in that act of healing, because healing, wholeness must naturally flow into peoples lives as a consequence of a faithful awareness of the presence of God. In Peter’s mind it would be impossible for us to be anything but whole in any area of our lives, if that faithful awareness is truly and humbly achieved.
This healing, shepherding power of God comes into our lives in a really wide variety of ways. First, it comes directly from God. God reveals God’s existence, that God is the Creator, that we are guests in God’s world, living here for God’s purposes. So, after all, the fact that some of the time we really cannot see very clearly the meaning and purpose of things that happen to us and around us is not very important.
God seeks to heal us through the life and death of Christ. God was not content to remain the Creator and Lord of human life. God wanted us to know first-hand that a life of faithfulness to God’s call us an utterly unstoppable force.
So God showed us, by becoming human, taking on our weakness and imperfections, even death, and sharing in Christ’s own body, Christ’s own resurrection, how truly powerful the healing presence of God really is.
God seeks to heal us as well by surrounding us with a universe of created goodness. How many times have the care and goodness of God come into our lives through the actions of the other people who have offered help, given us hope, offered patience, encouragement, any of a million kindnesses?
When that happens, it is not by accident. It is the natural consequence of God’s design, a design that makes each of us kind shepherds of one another.
So, let us truly seek out the shepherding, healing presence, of God in our lives. In so many of the Gospel healing stories, Christ precedes the miracle by asking simply, ‘Do you want to be healed?’
All we have to do is say ‘Yes.’