Today is the Feast of St. Athanasius, a Christian leader from Alexandria Egypt who is remembered as the primary defender of the faith against the teachings of Deacon Arius, also of Alexandria. This is all happening in the 4th century some 300 years after the death and Resurrection of Jesus. It is also in the age when the Christian faith was no longer “illegal” under Roman rule – thanks to Emperor Constantine. Christianity become the official religion of the Roman Empire was still some 50 year away, but the Church was beginning to flourish with its new found freedom from oppression and the threat of the next persecution. Continue reading

The Sheep

This coming Sunday is the 4th Sunday of Easter for Year C of the Lectionary Cycle. The gospel invokes one of the most often used images of God: the shepherd. The Prophet Ezekiel couches the promise that after a long succession of bad shepherds (kings) who fed themselves off the flock, God himself will come as the Good Shepherd. That pastoral imagery is a central part of John 10 and is always used as the gospel for the 4th Sunday of Easter:

Year A – John 10:1-10 (sheepfold, gatekeeper, sheep recognizing the voice)
Year B – John 10:11-18 (“I am the good shepherd”)
Year C – John 10:27-30

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