Homily 4th Sunday of Easter 21st April 2024

Homily 4th Sunday of Easter 21st April 2024

Is there anything more terrifying to a human being than even the suspicion, let alone the conviction, that he or she is alone in the universe, on one’s own. Set adrift in a pointless world.

So, this revelation of Christ as the Good Shephard is a welcome one. We are all in the hands of a God who knows us far better than we know ourselves, and who cares for us more graciously and effectively than we could ever 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 literally 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 people’s 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.

The 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 firsthand that a life of faithfulness to God’s call us a utterly unstoppable force. So, God showed us, by becoming human, taking on all our weakness and imperfections, even death and showing 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 action of 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 a natural consequence of God’s design that makes each of us 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 simply asking, “Do you want to be healed?” All we have to do is say “Yes”.

Fr Andrew