4th Sunday of Easter-April 26, 2015


Being one and being the same is a feat not easy to maintain in our times. We have various identities, depending on what age stratum we belong to. Digital natives who belong to the internet generation have more than one, and they all are evolving. Friendster identities have long since been gone and buried in digital cemeteries. My Space identities have followed suit, along with the likes of WAYN (Where are you now?) and so many attempts at defining the world in terms of cyber associations and organizations.

We, digital migrants who were not thrown into the water of digital complexities early on, have now at least two: real identity and virtual identity. (Some of us still hold on to emails, and doggedly forward messages filled with images of fluttering butterflies! … Others have moved on tentatively to Facebook, even if a great many have little or no understanding about the phenomenon of “walls,” “pages” “communities” and “groups.”

There was a time we were known for the companies we keep. K of C adherents were easily identifiable. So were Legion of Mary members, or CWL stalwarts. For the most part, we just had one and only one major identifying trait. What we did, the uniform we wore, the values we stood for … they all accrued to give our person that distinctive identity that could not be mistaken for somebody else.

Today, 4th Sunday of Easter, the concept of IDENTITY takes center stage in the case of Jesus Christ. According to Peter, Jesus the Nazarene was one and the same person with the one through whom alone there was salvation. He was the one crucified. He, too, was the one raised from the dead! He was the stone rejected by the elders, but He too, was the one who became the cornerstone. No less … no one else. There is no one other by whom the human race is to be saved.

Now let us make sure we got that right. Jesus was the Nazarean who did wonders and who was put to death. Jesus was the Christ whom God raised from the dead. He was the one “who came in the name of the Lord.” He wore many hats. He was a wonder-worker. He was a healer. He was a carpenter  … a teacher … a preacher … a prophet and a leader.

Whatever it was He did, He remained the same … the Son of God … the Redeemer … the Savior – and mind you, - the world’s most tremendous lover! “See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God.” (2nd Reading).

But today, too, He gives us a clue to further enriching his one and the same identity. He tells us himself: “I am the good Shepherd.”

But he is not one who simply loves to post statuses in facebook and twit imaginary accomplishments like some high profile guy I know.

That same Jesus Christ who was crucified, who loved us with the world’s greatest love, other than whom there is no salvation for the human race, who rose from the dead, and who reigns forever and ever, is also Good Shepherd, who proves that being a servant-leader is not just a status or a twit on one’s wall.

“I am the Good Shepherd.” He goes on to prove it … “A Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” … “I know mine and mine know me, just as I know the Father” … “I lay down my life for the sheep.”

A lot of people know me in and via facebook. But nothing compares to the greatest gift of being known by God and loved with an everlasting love.  He knows me. He loves me. And He saves me.

And he is Jesus the Nazarean, no less. He is the one who suffered and died for me and for you. No less. And He is the same one who rose from the dead and continues to shepherd us. No one else. Only Jesus. Only Christ. True God and true man. No less. No one else.