My sister and brother-in-law tend a small herd of Polled Hereford cattle. Each new calf in named and quickly learns to trust the voices that call it by name. These cattle can distinguish the voice of a stranger from that of one who feeds them.
On Easter Sunday, only when Jesus speaks Mary Magdalene’s name does she recognize her risen Lord. On the second Sunday of Easter, only when Thomas hears the voice of Jesus does he believe in his risen presence. On the third Sunday of Easter, only when Cleopas and his friend see the stranger take bread, bless and break it, and give it to them do their eyes open and their hearts burn with the spoken promises of Jesus.
Today is the fourth Sunday of Easter, often called Good Shepherd Sunday. No particular names are mentioned in today’s gospel because today Jesus calls out to you by name. It’s feeding time! The gate to the church is open, its pasture is wide and green, and the good shepherd goes ahead of you. Jesus calls you by name so you may have an abundant life with God.
God of green pastures, feed me with your presence, in Jesus’ name. Amen.