4th Sunday of Easter [by Keith Innes]

Anglican lectionary:
Catholic lectionary:
1st Reading
Acts 2:42-47
Acts 2:14a.36-41
2nd Reading
1 Pet 2:19-25
John 10:1-10
by Keith Innes (Keith Innes’s Blog)

The use of the shepherd/sheep relationship as a model for the relationship of Christians to Christ has many implications. One is to give great dignity to animal experience. To cause suffering or indignity to animals in our care should be abhorrent to those whose Shepherd is the Lord (Psalm 23, 1 Peter 2:25, John 10:1-5).

Jesus, God the Son, is the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18) who loves his flock to the extent of laying down his life for them. Humans are made in God’s image and called to reflect his truth and life. Therefore we are to model the pastoral care of Jesus, not only in human pastoral relationships, but in our care for animals. Such care may include foregoing benefits for ourselves that would involve their suffering.

The eternal relationship of shepherding between Christ and his true sheep (Psalm 23, Revelation 7:17, John 10:22-30) is to be mirrored by his people in their ‘pastoral’ care not only of people, but also of God’s other creatures over whom we have so much power for good or ill.

by Keith Innes