The Lord offers a parable to illustrate what happens when we persistently turn away from God. Perhaps there have been times in our lives when we know what to do, but we haven’t done it; today offers us a fresh opportunity to draw near to Christ and – with his help – respond to the unique situations of our lives with in manner worthy of Jesus.
It will not go well for the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum; Jesus preached in their midst and they have not responded. It’s a good reminder for us who have been raised with the Gospel…are we merely “cultural” Christians, or has the Good News touched our hearts and changed our lives?
Ezekiel and Jesus point out the power of our actions in the spiritual life, and Paul reminds us that our actions are shaped when we take on the attitude of Jesus Christ. It’s practical advice that illustrates our ongoing need to focus on the Lord as we put our faith into practice.
One of the hardest things about the Christian faith is the giving and receiving of a tough message, the kind of message that hits our hearts and requires us to grow as children of God. Whether it’s something that needs to be said or something that needs to be heard, may we call upon the Lord for the courage we need to let the message of Jesus Christ speak to our souls.
The Gospel of John recounts how Mary Magdalene was the first to meet the Risen Lord. Her conversion and witness inspire us: no matter what our past has been, God’s grace can touch our hearts and change our lives!
Themes of repentance, baptism, and sheep surface this week. Take a look:
1st Reading – Peter exhorts the crowd to repent and be baptized
Psalm – “The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.”
2nd Reading – Christ bore our sins on the Cross, for we were like straying sheep
Gospel – The Lord is the gate for the sheep; we must pass through Him
The Scriptures speak of Jesus as both Shepherd and Gate. Why? Because like sheep sometimes we find ourselves in trouble, unprotected, abandoned, and in need of serious help. The shepherd guards and guides the sheep; entry through the gate allows the sheep to pass into a place of safety.
Our human need for help arises from our sins. While the joy of this Easter season is ringing in our hearts, we still take the time to call to mind our need for the Savior – the Good Shepherd – who offers his life for us. Indeed, it is the saving death and resurrection of Jesus that we proclaim in every Baptism, Confession, and Eucharist…sacraments that many receive in this holy season.
Knowing that the Lord has freed us from sin and death, we can honestly acknowledge our sins and joyfully offer our gratitude – running to the Lord for the grace and strength we need.
God calls every generation to repentance as we observe in the book of Jonah and the Gospel of Luke today. Rather than chase after miracles, wonders and signs, may we respond to this ongoing call to conversion of heart – turning away from sin and turning toward the Lord.