Fourth Sunday of Easter

OBEDIENCE

by Lucinda M. Vardey

One of the necessary commitments to leading a holy life is obedience. In a religious order obedience to one’s superiors is central to the health and stability of the community and the growth and freedom of its members.   But what about the rest of us?

In today’s readings we recognize obedience at work in the early Church, an obedience to the Holy Spirit through signs and direction, and to Jesus’ teachings, being open to his guidance through scripture, or the whispering of his shepherding in our souls. .

His leadership is essential to our survival. “We are his people” the psalmist writes, “the sheep of his pasture.”

Jesus calls us through baptism to be in community with each other under the direction of his grace. There have been times, I am sure, that we have been led astray or

wandered off looking to other places for something that only Jesus can provide. After a while he finds us and brings us back into the fold so we can realize that our surety, our protection, our very life depends upon his care.

Relying on his direction, we must be obedient, because, like sheep, we are not particularly adept at making it on our own: if we try we usually get into trouble.   So we come together to follow him; we come to keep an eye on each other, we come to celebrate

together in the joy and freedom of his extraordinary pasture of peace. We trust he knows what’s best for us, so we accept what he gives, as Mother Teresa expressed, and let him take what he takes from us, always “with a smile.”