Word To Life
Sunday Scripture Readings, April 29, 2012
By Jean Denton
Catholic News Service
April 29, Fourth Sunday of Easter
Cycle B. Readings:
1) Acts 4:8-12
Psalm 118:1, 8-9, 21-23, 26, 28-29
2) 1 John 3:1-2
Gospel: John 10:11-18
Amy and Laura taught school together for a year and became good friends. It was Amy's first year as a teacher and Laura's fourth. Before the school year was out, Laura gave notice that she wasn't coming back to teach the next year. She didn't have another job or plans, but she didn't want to teach any more.
"She probably shouldn't be a teacher," Amy explained as fact, not criticism. "She wasn't bad at it, but she didn't really like it. For her, it was just a job."
Amy, on the other hand, loved every minute of it. From the day she took her first education course in college, she knew she wanted to teach young children. Her first year, she was recognized as the top teacher in her school and since then consistently has received kudos from senior teachers and principals.
"She was meant to be a teacher," her fiance said. "She loves her students, and she knows she's right where she's supposed to be."
Like the good shepherd in this weekend's Gospel, Amy gives her life to the children in her classes because she is concerned about them. Laura did what the job required, but no more. She didn't put a lot of herself into it, and, consequently, she didn't get a lot out of it.
Everything Amy gives her students comes back to her through their trust and obedience, and she grows in wisdom and confidence in her ability to teach and care for them.
That's the second part of the Gospel's message. Jesus explains that the good shepherd, out of love and concern, freely gives his life to those in his care. He lays it down "in order to take it up again." In other words, giving his life enriches it and enables him to give even more.
That's how fulfillment works.
When one chooses to lay down one's life to serve God and others, the result is a richer, greater life that empowers us to take it up again and again with increasing strength and compassion.
Who are the people you trust the most? Why? When has concern and caring for another given greater meaning to your life?
SCRIPTURE TO BE ILLUSTRATED:
"I have power to lay [my life] down, and power to take it up again. This command I have received from my Father" (John 10:18).
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