Acts 13: 14, 43-52 / Ps 100: 1-2, 3, 5 / Jn 10: 27-30
Jesus says in the gospel today: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.”
What beautiful words the Lord Jesus spoke in today’s gospel! They are so comforting and reassuring. We are in the Lord’s care. We are His. We belong to Jesus Christ and nothing can ever change that. Even should we die, we will live with Jesus forever in our Father’s Kingdom. Jesus Christ our shepherd will lead us to our true home in heaven and nothing can ever change this.
The second reading from the book of Revelations speaks of a great multitude of people from every nation, peoples, and languages that stand before the throne of God and before the Lamb. They were robed in white because their robes had been washed white by the blood of Jesus and their sins had been forgiven. Can you imagine this? All the people throughout the world who have died and arrived in heaven, grateful to be able to stand before God’s throne clean and without shame, without sin, because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for them?
When we think about our past sins, many of us are ashamed of them, even if they have been forgiven in the sacrament of confession. Sometimes the shame still lingers and we do not feel very holy because of them. Can you imagine all traces of sin being completely removed from your soul and the sheer joy we will experience to just be able to be there, in heaven? This joy alone is enough to want to sing praises to God our Father and to Jesus Christ when we are permitted to live in paradise forever, by God’s grace and Christ’s sacrifice. Our gratitude will surely be overflowing.
And to think, that all suffering from our earthly lives will be over, forever. All the people in Africa that are starving, will never be hungry again, the people who live in hot dessert climates where water is scarce will never have to worry about the hot sun or lack of water again. No one will suffer and cry any more either. This scripture reading says that God will wipe every tear from our eyes. All the suffering we have gone through will be over, never to return again. How more beautiful than this can it be?
The reading from the book of Revelation also tells of the people in white robes with palm branches in their hands. The Catholic church believes that the people with the palm branches in their hands are the holy martyrs who “came out of the great ordeal” and died for their faith. We too will cry out with joy with them:
“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb!”
Jesus keeps his promises. The disciples in the first reading today “were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. “They knew that Jesus’s words were truth and life, but so did the crowds of people who came to them. They instinctively recognized the truth when they heard it, just like we do. A genuine experience of the Holy Spirit is something we just can not argue with, because it sits with certainty in our soul, bringing love, peace and trust to all people that the Spirit touches. This is the voice of truth, the voice of love that we recognize in the words of Jesus Christ.