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SHARING THE FAITH

Father Francis's picture
Fourth Week of Easter

Acts 11:1-18 & Jn. 10:11-18

If you had received some good news, would you keep it to yourself or would you want to share it with others? This was the question the early Christians had to ask themselves. The converts in Jerusalem were not prepared to share this good news with anyone who was not a Jew.

When they heard that some of the pagans had accepted the faith they were angry and criticised Peter for associating with them. He had to convince them that in preaching to the pagans he was acting under the direction of the Holy Spirit. He told them about his trance, in which God told him three times that everything He had created is clean and no-one is to be excluded. The Holy Spirit is free to give the gift of faith to whomever He chooses. If those first Jewish converts had had their way, Christianity would never have spread beyond the confines of Judaism.

In the Gospel, we see how Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is constantly attracting more sheep. "There are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd."

We who love our faith are proud to be members of the Church, but we should not be inward-looking or self-satisfied. If Our Lord is to achieve His aim of bringing all the sheep into His fold, then He needs our co-operation. We must be ready to share the good news, by our words and above all by our example. In our pagan world, people are searching for direction in their lives while their many hireling shepherds are eager to lead them astray. We have received, through the apostles, the wonderful gift of faith. We can all think of someone in our own lives who has inspired us by their obvious dedication to the faith.

It could be a priest, a parent, or a teacher whom we remember with admiration and affection, a colleague or a friend. Now it is our turn to speak up for what we believe in, so that through us the voice of the shepherd can be heard.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for the precious gift of faith and, because of our love for it, may we through the example of our lives draw others to want what we have.

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