April 9, 2022
Saturday (Week V of Lent)
by Fr. David M. Knight
View today's readings: Ezekiel 37:21-28; Responsorial: Jeremiah 31:10-13; John 11:45-56
The RESPONSORIAL VERSE is: “The Lord will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock” (from JEREMIAH 31:10-13).
Ezekiel 37:21-28 is God’s solemn promise to restore unity among his People: “I will save them from all the apostasies into which they have fallen.... They shall be my people.”
Unity in doctrine requires unity in government. Some person or body must have the authority to determine what teaching is true and what is false. “My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd.” As the promised “Son of David,” it is Jesus who exercises this role forever in his Church.
For Jesus’ guidance of the community to be practical and real, he must give it through some identifiable and authoritative ruler or ruling body on earth. Otherwise, people will argue forever about what Jesus really meant. And quite often the arguments will be resolved by division into separate camps or churches. The promise, “I will make them one” requires the added promise, “they shall all have one shepherd.”
True discipleship in the Church is inseparable from unity with the Church. This unity is the sign of God’s presence: “My dwelling place shall be with them.... Then the nations shall know that I the LORD sanctify Israel….” Jesus prayed for his Church: “I ask that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you… so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (JOHN 17:21).
John 11:45-57 tells us how Jesus brings about this unity: “Jesus was about to die for the nation… to gather into one the dispersed children of God.” We are kept united, not just by human obedience to human authority, even divinely established, but by the mystery of the indwelling presence and action of the risen Jesus himself in the Church.
The mystery of Christ’s death on the cross is that when Jesus died, we died in him. The mystery of Baptism is that we were “baptized into his death.” We were incorporated into his body on the cross, died in him and rose again in him to live as his risen body on earth (ROMANS 6: 3-4, 6:8; 1CORINTHIANS 15:18; 2CORINTHIANS 5:14; EPHESIANS 2:6; COLOSSIANS 2:12, 20, 3:1-3; 2TIMOTHY 2:11). Our unity is the unity of one living body, maintained by the real presence of Jesus living, acting, teaching and governing through the real members of his body, the Church. Jesus is the Shepherd in the shepherds. As disciples of Jesus, we are disciples of the Church. As disciples of the Church, we are disciples of Jesus.
Then “the Lord [himself] will guard us as a shepherd guards his flock.”
Initiative: Be a disciple of the Church. Read the documents of Vatican II.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry