The Good Shepherd, c. 300–350, at the Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome (Wikipedia)
Fr. Smith’s Commentary on the Second Reading
Good Shepherd Sunday
1 John 3:1-2
April 25, 2021
The risen Jesus determines how we view the past, live in the present, and what we expect in the future. Today’s reading from the 1st Letter of John most directly looks at the future but will shed light on the others as well.
The writings attributed to St John were the product of an entire community over a considerable period. This community formed around the “beloved disciple” an eyewitness to the events of Jesus’ life. The first writing was the original edition of the Gospel. This was composed by John “the Evangelist” and directed to the early community which knew the Beloved Disciple and had a grasp of Judaism. Over time the community grew and become more diverse. The leaders could no longer count on familiarity either with the person and witness of the beloved disciple nor a common and basically Jewish understanding of Jesus and his mission. The letters are a product of this diversity and written by a person we are calling John “the Presbyter,” or elder.
The question of an afterlife was a very live issue among the Jews of Jesus’s time. Many, perhaps most, Jews did not believe in an afterlife in any way we would desire. The exception were the Pharisees. They held that to vindicate the faithfulness of God we must expect an afterlife.
Their reasoning may seem foreign to us, but I find it profound and convincing.Continue reading “Good Shepherd Sunday – Beginning with Justice, Ending with Love”