Fourth Sunday Easter - Year B
Peter calls Jesus the "Cornerstone" of our faith. We usually think of them as being part of the dedication of a building. Today we pour concrete to lay foundations, so a cornerstone has lost its original meaning. Concrete is a liquid when poured, so it easily comes to a level, shaping itself to the contures of the ground.
In ancient times, however, the cornerstone was very necessary. It kept all of the other stones in a straight line so that the walls wouldn't collapse. If one row of stones or bricks were off by just a fraction of an inch, the whole structure would be unsafe. Since the church is built on Christ, we can be sure that it will last.
The Good Shepherd
When Jesus calls himself "The good shepherd" he is using an example that would have been very familiar to his listeners. Sheep are voracious eaters. They consume large amounts of grass and eat right down to the roots. Because of this they must range freely over a wide area.
Shepherds had to be outdoors in all conditions for long periods of time. They literally had to surrender a large part of their lives for the sheep in their care. Shepherds had to keep an eye out for predators, while herding the sheep away from dangerous areas.
Jesus offers the same kind of dedicated love. He gives his life for each of the members of his flock.
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