The Gospel this week takes the cake, it’s the Good Shepherd, so the other readings get forgotten. We begin in Acts where Peter addresses the people saying in a round about way that salvation comes through Jesus Christ. Just as the cripple was healed in the name of Jesus so to will we all be saved in him. He quotes the psalm “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone” and mean that Jesus is the stone and it is only through Christ that we can gain salvation. Peter’s a bit harsh on this as the Church has walked this back a bit over the years notably in the Vatican II document Nostra aetate.
In the second reading we once again hear from John’s letter and the focus this week is love, “The father loves us and we are called children of God, but the world does not know us because they do not know the father.” This image is to help us recognize the Lord in our lives since we all have fathers to relate to but the Lord is more than one parent but rather both father and mother. The world might know us a little better now it helps that Christianity is the largest religion in the world, but this is a two way street we need to learn about other religions to see where other people are coming from. The past decade around the world Muslims are dealing with a lot of hostility although only a small fraction of them are in ISIS or Al-Queda, but Muslims recognize Jesus as one of the great prophets and are a lot like us. Let us not forget about the militant Christians who sacked Constantinople and Jerusalem it is not best to uses these individuals to illustrate all members of the religion.
Finally the Gospel is John’s account of the Good Shepherd. Jesus says that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep, calls them all by name. If a wolf were coming he would stick beside the sheep and defend them as well, he is like Toby from Sweeney Todd who sings “Nothing’s gonna harm you not while I’m around.” I hope that we can remember this during the week that the Good Shepherd is a pretty awesome individual and through this person we can find salvation.