Good Shepherd Sunday during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Fourth Sunday of Easter, May 3, 2020
The Coronavirus has made this past Easter very unusual for all of us. But columnist Yvonne Abraham, writing in the Boston Globe on March 25, 2020 wonders if this Easter could be the beginning of a whole new way of living.
“What would the world be like if the things that have become so important to us during this pandemic, remained so? What would our lives be like if our values and priorities were frozen, right here. If we were always as kind to each other, and as worried about the world, as we are today?"
"We would do just about everything differently."
“We would pay teachers (blessings be upon them) as much as hedge-funders."
“Our hands would always be so clean, we could eat off them."
“We would have more respect, and money, for low wage workers who deliver our basic needs: grocery store clerks and others who work to bring food to our table; drivers who keep bringing packages to the doors of the luckiest among us; trash haulers and maintenance workers and janitors and others who put themselves at risk to protect us."
"We would really see the folks who work in restaurants and insist that they earn wages that match their dignity."
“We would leave bigger tips."
“We would spend less money on things that serve no purpose except to signal status, care less about impressing strangers, and make more of what we have last longer. We would waste less, period."
“We would spend more time with our family and friends, and be more keenly aware of our massive good fortune to have them, especially the older ones. We would hug longer and linger in each other’s presence."
“We would love our neighbor. Yep, even that one."
“We would work together to make those who are alone feel less so."
“We would be more grateful for all we have, and more outraged at what others do not."
“We would – will – be happier on the other side of this."
“If we remember….”
Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. In these most difficult challenges of our lives, including COVID-19, Christ the Good Shepherd speaks amid the turmoil and the fear. If we listen with open hearts we can hear Christ speaking in those small acts of kindness, forgiveness, and justice that eventually get us beyond those obstacles.
In today’s Gospel Jesus calls himself the “gate”, the entry way for us to God, the passage through which we step from the reality of our imperfect and incomplete world to the reality of the perfect holiness of God. May we learn the lessons of compassion and justice that these demanding days are teaching us, resolving to bring us new appreciation of the humanity we share. Amen.
Acts 2:14a, 36–41
Peter [said] to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ.”
1 Peter 2:20b–25
For you had gone astray like sheep, but you have now returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.
[Jesus said,] “The sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”