I am sure that if many parishioners ever bother to listen to the first line of the second reading today, they either choose to ignore it or doubt that it can actually be true. It is a rather extraordinary claim: ‘think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called the children of God – for that is what we are.’ If we imagine the love that God gives to us, I suspect that for many people ‘lavished’ is not the first descriptive word that would be chosen; perhaps ‘grudgingly offered’ would be closer. But this is something that John had experienced deeply in his life, so when he came to describe this reality, he wanted us to know how true the love of God was. To ask us to ‘think’ about it is not a great translation – because John uses a word that expresses that the love of God is something absolutely tangible – so much so that it could be seen and experienced directly – not just a concept to be thought about.When we turn to the Gospel, we see the kind of shape that this love took on in the life and ministry of Jesus, when Jesus declares himself to be the Good Shepherd.

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Recorded at St Paul’s, 8am (8’45”)

E4B – Easter, Fourth Sunday B – Good Shepherd Sunday