The empty tomb affirms that God has made Jesus both Lord and Messiah, as St. Peter asserts in the readings this Sunday.
He is the “Lord,” the divine Son who David foresaw at God’s right hand (Psalms 3; 110:1; 132:10–11). Jesus is the Messiah that God had promised to shepherd the scattered flock of the house of Israel (Ezekiel 34:11–14, 23; 37:24).
Jesus is the Good Shepherd who is sent to us, the people who are like sheep without a shepherd (Mark 6:34; Numbers 27:16–17). By adoption we are incorporated as the children of Israel: Jesus’ brothers and sisters. He also calls to all those who are far off—whomever the Lord wishes to hear His voice.
The call of the Good Shepherd, then, leads to the waters of Baptism, to the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation, and to the table with the overflowing cup of the Eucharist, as alluded to in the beloved Psalm 23, the Shepherd’s Psalm – The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
On this 4thSunday of Easter, we hear Jesus’ voice calling us his own. He awakens in us the response of those who heard Peter’s preaching. “What are we to do?” they asked.
We have been baptized; but we go astray like sheep, as we hear in today’s Epistle. We always need to repent, to seek forgiveness of our sins, to separate ourselves further from corruption.
We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Shepherd of our souls. By His suffering He bore our sins in His body to free us from sin. But His suffering is also an example for us. From Him we should learn patience in our afflictions, to hand ourselves over to the will of God.
Jesus has gone ahead, through the dark valley of evil and death. His Cross has become the narrow gate through which we must pass to reach the empty tomb and the verdant pastures of abundant life.
Acts 2:14, 36–41
1 Peter 2:20–25