“The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.” These words of Benedict XVI are quoted in MAGNIFICAT’s Lectio Divina this week, commenting on the Gospel for Good Shepherd Sunday, John 10:11-18.
I particularly love this image of Our Lord, patiently carrying a lamb upon his shoulders, its gaze lifted high above the flock, implicitly sharing Christ’s own perspective for a moment. For surely this is what the readings for this Sunday are all about: God’s perspective versus ours.
As St Peter tells the elders in the first reading, the keystone – the holy name of Jesus – is the very thing that they impatiently rejected. And yet it is the thing which holds the whole edifice of human existence together, the name which truly heals and strengthens the weaker parts of the edifice. The first Pope knew the psalm: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the work of the Lord, a marvel in our eyes.”
But as St John reminds us in his epistle, the world does not share this perspective, and because it rejects Christ, we should not be surprised when it rejects us. We ourselves do not have a clear perspective – not yet, at least. “What we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed: all we know is, that when it is revealed, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.”
For now it is enough to listen out for the voice of the Shepherd, to be confident that we a deeply known by him, because we his own, his sheep, his children. If we can get past the need to be ‘in charge’, if we can assume a position of trust that Our Lord will never sell us short, then we can indeed share in the divine perspective, and be patient in the face of adversity.
Leonie Caldecott is the editor of MAGNIFICAT UK and Ireland
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