Study: How have I responded to rejection in my life? What has given me strength?
Pray: What challenges do I need to set before the Lord today?
Serve: Who is struggling with rejection in my life? How can I help and support another?
At first glance these readings seem to be a jumble: what do stones have to do with shepherds? How are they connected to the person of Jesus Christ?
A quick overview might look like this:
- 1st Reading – Jesus was rejected, yet his triumph saves us (a rejected rock becomes the cornerstone)
- Psalm Response – this is the text that Peter used to describe Jesus in the 1st Reading
- 2nd Reading – the world does not know Jesus, but his disciples do – and they are being transformed
- Gospel – Jesus claims that he is the Good Shepherd who knows the sheep and he is willing to lay down his life for them
What we discover points to Jesus as the Lord who has encountered rejection and triumphs through his saving sacrifice. The power he has comes from the Father, who sent his Son to save us, even when we didn’t understand. What’s more, God keeps reaching out to us – breaking through our ignorance, weakness and sin – to build a bridge that leads us to new life.
God comes to us, in our need, to save and set us free.
The invitation today is one of acceptance. Will we embrace the Good News of Christ? Will we respond to the faith, hope, and love of the Gospel and allow our lives to be touched by God’s blessing? Is there anything blocking me from reaching out to the Lord?
In the light of Easter glory I would like to suggest some possibilities for spiritual growth:
- Experience the power of the Sacrament of Confession
- Dig deep into the Gospel readings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
- Crank up our prayer lives with a personal devotion, spiritual reading, or time of reflection
- Strengthen our relationships with the support of Christian fellowship and prayer
- Commit some time and effort to serve another in need
Thus, the path which the Lord walked becomes our own. Our spiritual compass – pointed toward Jesus Christ, inspires us to stay the course even when we are mistreated and misunderstood. Like the shepherd and the stone, we can face rejection with the promise of hope – for we draw strength from the one who triumphed in his struggles to bring triumph to our lives.
The Good Shepherd, Alfred Handel, d. 1946 – photo by Toby Hudson (20 December 2009); stained glass, 770 x 600 pixels, St. John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales.