Monday, 27 April 2015

Fourth Sunday of Easter B - Br Andrew

Andre-Rublev's Saviour
   Homily preached by Br. Andrew at Blaxland on Sunday 26th April 2015:

Fourth Sunday of Easter B


"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture says the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:1 NIV)

Jesus begins by identifying himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. Straight away we can determine that there are bad shepherds who don't lay down their Iives’  for the flock in their charge; their names are mentioned in our first reading, they were Annas, the  High Priest Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the rest of the high priest's family. They knew no one's name nor even whether there were any other converts waiting anywhere for guidance.

Politics and history aside, Spiritually the Jewish church had been entrusted into the care of the  tribe of Levi and the House of Aaron since the time of Moses until the Messiah should come. Here now, clerics hired  by God were allowing the Flock of Israel to be fed to the wolves of Rome for the sake of Mammon, and for political security, had put aside any pretenses of looking or acting like shepherds. When the master himself returned they had him crucified and the small flock scattered. Note, Jesus says that he laid down his life and he took it up again.

 Daemons and men can do whatever they will to work out their wickedness but God's will over rides everything. This was a special love between the Father and son that Jesus could willingly lay down his life because it was his to give for us.
Having given and received his life Jesus returned to his disciples where he told them to stay in Jerusalem until power from on high should come upon them. And that Power will be the Holy Spirit whose coming we celebrate at Pentecost.

Our first reading is a prime example of how true disciples of Christ, shepherds in their own right behave with compassion toward those in their care. I find Peters words hilarious "If we are being held to account today for an act of kindness to a cripple" How many of us have been in trouble with church authorities for an act kindness?

For Peter and John it proved to be a prime opportunity to witness to the Sanhedrin and to try once again to Drill truth into concrete skulls it is in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit that this man walks. You rejected Him, you crucified him and he rose from the dead and it is through His Name that is the only way under heaven by which you can be saved. Did they care at all or just at another type of sheep rustling?

I am here in this Parish because of hireling’s clerics who even breed their own wolves to keep all the sacrilege and injustice in the family, so to speak. Many of us might say that the church of today, hasn’t moved far away, in principles from the Jewish church that money and power and status, fear and prejudice all serve to caste out the weakest sheep and the weakest shepherds.    Where is the light?
The light lives in the love of Jesus, and when we feel this love we see the light that the darkness cannot extinguish. In his Epistle John speaks of this love.   Love with a capital L is that Christ laid down his life for us and that we ought to do likewise. How scary is this, I wanted light and love not self-sacrifice.

John speaks here not of the ultimate self-sacrifice of Maximilian Kolbe but of the loving-kindness and concern for Christians and non-Christians alike. Fulfilling one another's needs and discovering that the Love of Christ makes all things possible!
John continues by reminding us to exercise our Christian conscience, whenever in doubt, and to remember the two great commandments.

It sounds a little simplistic and perhaps unreal when we overlay the Gospel and Epistles over the events of today's world but we need to remember that the Scriptures were given to us in a vacuum excluding the reality of the times, they are intended to be spiritual guidance to be adapted to every Era. Scripture is not complex but does have context, a little exploration of the world beyond the Scriptures helps us to find our own context.
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