Bearing witness to truth

By: By Sharon Priester

Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 3

Acts 4:8-12; Psalm 118:1,8-9,21-23,26,28,29; 1 John 3:1-2; John 10:11-8

My husband and I recently had the opportunity to spend a week with two of our grandchildren. We all had a good time, playing, laughing, visiting the zoo and searching for shells as we enjoyed the spring weather. During the week, my husband and I, loving these two little guys so much, made sure they were well taken care of and safe from all danger.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd.” The shepherd tended his flocks day and night and gathered the sheep together for their own protection and guarded them from all harm, even if it meant he would lose his life, unlike the hired hand who would have run away in time of danger.

Jesus describes the way he cares for his sheep, his people: “I know my own and my own know me, as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” He protects and guards us from all harm. He goes on to say that even those not in his fold need to be brought to the sheepfold and would lay down his own life so that there can be one flock.

In the first reading, Peter, having healed a cripple, has been arrested. He is brought before the council of high priests to explain “by what power or by what name did” he do this. Peter tells them that is was “in the name of Jesus,” the stone they rejected which “is now the cornerstone” that the man was healed. He also says, “There is no salvation in anyone else.”

We, recognizing that Jesus has brought salvation to all people, are to bear witness to this truth. As is said in 1 John 10:11-18, “We are God’s children now. . . . We know that when it is revealed, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

As God’s children, we are called to share the Good News with others — our families, children, grandchildren, friends, acquaintances. How will we respond? Will we be like the good shepherd, leading others to God and away from danger, or will we be like the hired hand, running away when it gets tough? Will we be like Peter, ready to face the challenges placed in front of us? Will our lives, motives and actions reflect the principles of the Gospel and lead others to Jesus, the promise of salvation?

Sharon Priester is one of six regional directors of religious education working with the diocesan Office of Catechetics and serves the Bloomington and Lincoln vicariates of the Diocese of Peoria. A member of Holy Trinity Parish in Bloomington, she holds a master’s degree in religious studies from Mundelein College in Chicago and chaired the committee that reviewed and revised the Diocesan Religious Education Guidelines.

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