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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Head

The Rejected Good Shepherd

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His mercy endures forever!

In today’s first reading, St. Peter proclaims today’s psalm to a gathered people: The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. St. Peter is speaking of Jesus and how He is the way to salvation. The energy from St. Peter’s proclamation is heard even today as we continue our celebration of the Easter season: Jesus has triumphed over death! He was rejected by His own people, yet He is now the cornerstone of our faith.

How often do we feel rejected or forgotten? During the COVID-19 pandemic, so many around the world have felt isolated and forgotten. For many people, the time away from the physical church or restrictions on receiving the Lord in the Eucharist in the last year has led to feelings of despair. Why would God reject us? Why would God not let us come to Him and gather together? Why would God forget us and leave us to flounder in this secular world, without our familiar communities?

And yet, the psalm today reminds us that God’s mercy will endure forever. Despite the fear of rejection and being forgotten, God remembers His people. The church buildings have reopened. We can receive the Eucharist again. In small ways, we are regaining our sense of community.

In John’s Gospel today, Jesus explains the difference between a hired man and a shepherd. A hired man simply does the job he is assigned to do. He does not care intrinsically for the sheep in his care. When have we been that hired worker, unmotivated to complete a task we are assigned and fleeing at the sight of struggle? Yet Jesus remains the good shepherd. He looks after all those in His care, and in these days after the Resurrection, reminds us that He will be with us always.

We are halfway through the Easter season. In only a few weeks, we will celebrate the Ascension and Pentecost, two events which signify the time Jesus left us on earth and commissioned the faithful to go out into the world. Today, sing out Psalm 118 to remember that Jesus remains with us forever as the good shepherd. Even when we are feeling lost, rejected, or forgotten like a lost sheep - Jesus himself was rejected by the people of His time. Yet, He is forever our good shepherd. God’s mercy will endure forever.

Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, His mercy endures forever!

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