3rd Sunday of Easter, Cycle A: John 10: 1-10
My mother spent the last year of her life in an assisted living facility. My siblings and I would visit her often and speak to her almost every day. But what we found was there was less and less to talk about. When you reach into ninety, life becomes rather small. You are down to the basics. More often than not we would end up talking to our mother about food. “So mom, what did you have for lunch today? Oh good, did you enjoy it? Mom, let’s look at the menu for dinner to see what your options will be.” Last week I was speaking to my sister on the phone. After we moved past the hellos and assurances that everyone was in good health, we began to speak about food. “Marge, what are you making for dinner tonight? Oh, I have a good crockpot recipe. Do you want me to send it to you?” Then at the same time, the two of us realized that we were sounding like people in assisted living.
Being shut down by the corona virus has reduced our lives. The basics are left. More and more our days become focused on what we will have for dinner. I think that all of us are getting tired of staying at home. Our lives seem so reduced and limited. We are losing patience with staying in.
The good news of today’s gospel is that Jesus presents himself as our shepherd who intends to lead us out. The text says that he calls each one of us by name and then walks ahead of us expecting us to follow. Jesus leads us out, and he leads us out today. Jesus wants to lead us to something new even as we shelter in place. Our mobility is greatly reduced, but Jesus does not want us to be idle. He wants us to follow him to something new. The text says Jesus calls each of us by name, so what Jesus is asking of us will vary from person to person. What is important, however, is to ask, is to what is Jesus calling you?
Perhaps he is calling you to reach out to someone. Now we do this routinely, speaking to our family and friends. But Jesus may be asking you to reach out to someone you have not spoken to in some time. Perhaps there is someone that you have always admired or someone who has influenced your life, any yet you have never personally contacted him or her. We know many people. This might be the time to reach out to some of them. Perhaps Jesus might be leading you to learn something new, to delve into an area that you have always been interested in, but never had the time to explore. It could be an area of art, history, economics, ecology, or politics. Every time we learn something new and true, it increases our capability and power to impact the world. Perhaps Jesus is asking you to use this time in isolation to learn more, so that when we finally are able to leave our homes, we will have new power to build his kingdom.
The corona virus has locked us in. Jesus intends to lead us out. Even though we are in isolation our lives need to be more than just thinking about tonight’s dinner. We have the ability to grow through reaching out to others and learning. Jesus calls us by name to things that are new. Listen, and follow him.