Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I have other sheep . . .

Sunday was Good Shepherd Sunday and the Gospel reading was John 10:11-18. Listen to Jesus speaking in this excerpt:

"I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd."

In regard to that, here is an excerpt from Father Tom Krieg's homily Sunday.

May 3, 2009
4th Sunday of Easter
Acts 4:8-12; John 10:11-18

"The first reading says pretty directly, 'There is no salvation through anyone else [than Jesus].' Does the Catholic Church teach this? Yes. Does the Catholic Church teach that non-Christians cannot go to heaven? No. Does the Catholic Church teach that non-Christians can go to heaven? Yes. How can it teach all these things?

The basic answer is that we believe Jesus is the only savior because, God saves and Jesus is part of God, the second person of the Trinity, as we developed our doctrine. So, if God chooses to welcome Muslims, Buddhists, etc. into eternal life, well he certainly can and Jesus is necessarily involved as he is the Word of the God and the actor in God who redeems. Now, occasionally a theologian will write a book that says all world religions are just different paths to the same God, like different rivers that flow into the same ocean. The Catholic Church says that is wrong. The Catholic teaching is that Jesus is the unique savior and that his saving truth is most fully contained in the Catholic Church–not only in the Catholic Church, but most fully. Are you sufficiently confused? I only pause to tell you all this because it is a common question, we hear about it in the first reading, AND because I do not want us to use what we hear in the first reading to pump up our spiritual egos and think we have the right to tell anyone else that they cannot go to heaven unless they profess belief in Jesus. In many cases that would violate the greatest law, the Law of Charity, and then it would be our souls not theirs that would be in trouble."

I think it is nice to know that everyone gets a Good Shepherd and not one of those lousy hired guys who run away when the wolf comes. :)

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