lunes, 12 de mayo de 2014

Fourth Sunday of Easter

When you are listening to the radio, television or a singer do you often think “I know that voice” and then find out whose voice it is ?  It was the voices that we recognised.  It is the same with Jesus. We are the sheep and the more time we spend in communication with Jesus, we come to realize Jesus’ voice.  St. John writes about a close relationship because Jesus Christ knows us by name and we can develop a closer relationship with Jesus if we open our hearts to Him.

Thus He is our Shepherd and we are his sheep and through reading the scriptures, praying, service to others and worship we can recognize the voice of Jesus.  Just as the Good Shepherd knew his flock and obeyed his voice, felt safe only with Him, so we have the opportunity to be secure in the knowledge that Jesus will give us a happy, rewarding life if we listen to Him.  This parable guides us to develop our spiritual relationship by having confidence in our Christian faith.

Our reading in Hechos brings us Stephen who with the other apostles and disciples was preaching to the people including the Chief Priests and Scribes.  He tried to make these people realize that although God had given them laws and the opportunity of a better life through obedience, they had not observed God’s laws. Stephen pointed out their religious establishments misunderstood the temple and the law of Moses although even reading about the faithful prophets who prophesised the coming of the Messiah, they continued to reject God.  Stephen identified Christianity as being the true way of life.  The chief priests and scribes became very angry and killed Stephen as also this religious establishment killed Jesus.

In San Pedro’s letter he writes to encourage and help the early Christians through their persecution and the threat of early death similarly as Stephen had suffered and died for his faith.  There are times when we have to suffer being mocked by non-Christians. We are very well aware that there has been much persecution in Africa, Arabia and other parts of the world of Christians which has very often led to their death. Our own Pastor John has often told us that the Christian life is not easy and in many situations we will be in an awkward and upsetting situation because of our faith.  If we lean on Jesus through prayer He will comfort and encourage us to carry on.

I have read Bishop Carlos’ book on the early Protestant church leading up to the foundation of I.E.R.E.  Those Christians were persecuted and many had to undergo the torture of the Inquisition causing many to escape to England or Gibraltar to be able to practise their faith.  Finally in the 1800’s they were able to commence worshiping as they wanted and thanks to Juan Bautista Cabrera and others we have this church.

We do not have to be lost sheep trying to find our way.  If we observe the methods of prayer, reading and worship which I have already mentioned, we will recognize what Jesus wants from us and have a richer and fulfilling life.                                        

Author: Gwen Hamilton-Warner