27 Apr Monday
Easter IV, May 3, Good Shepherd Sunday.
John 10 is the Good Shepherd chapter in his gospel. Pope Francis’ remarks that the “pastors should have the smell of the sheep” is relevant to this discourse of Jesus. There seem to be two different characters here: the shepherd and the gatekeeper. Notice in the parable that the sheep are led OUT of the corral, that is to say out into the world, where there’s risks and dangers. Recognition of voice and name are crucial to getting the point of this parable and the collabo- ration between flock and shepherd.
From the very beginning Baptism and Confirmation are linked together (Acts 2, 38). Confirmation was never a rite of passage into Catholic adulthood or some sort of last chance to hook our youths into coming to religious education classes. This only started in 1910 with Pius X who also moved First Communion down into “the age of reason” in about second grade. This is a classic example of an undesirable enculturation of the gospel. Baptism symbolizes death, purification, regeneration, and renewal. The Spirit empowered the apostolic Church to evangelize; it is the same today. Finally we are called to conversion; Baptism is the first, foremost, and fundamental locus of conversion. Reconciliation is inextricably bound up into the very nature of Baptism.