“Athirst is my soul for the Living God.”
The Psalmist today sums up what is going on in the entire Liturgy of the Word. In the book of Acts, we see that even the Gentiles seek salvation in Christ, and Peter learns that those God has called to holiness cannot be treated as unclean. In the Gospel, we have the image of the Good Shepherd – a bit of a re-run from yesterday – whose voice the faithful hear in the depths of their hearts.
At the core of our creation, all of us – and not just the “us” who are here in this church, but all people – all of us yearn for the Living God. This is not surprising, because God made us – all of us – for himself, in his own image. This is an important point for us Christians to get, because sometimes I think we believe that God made those of us who call themselves Christian, and those who aren’t came from outer space or something. No; God made all of us, created us good, created us for himself. And so, deep down inside, every person yearns for the Living God.
And it’s this realization that makes our lack of unity so very troublesome. And it’s this realization that puts the work of evangelization on the front burner. Because God created only one People and Christ established only one Church. God made us to be one, and one with him, and it is sin that has driven us apart and kept us apart for so very, very long. Jesus makes God’s longing for our unity clear in today’s Gospel: “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.”
That’s our goal as God’s people. To become one in him who made us and one in him who redeemed us. The work of evangelization is so important because God’s creation will not be complete until all of us are one. And so we disciples have to make it our life’s vocation to see to it that everyone who knows us hears Christ in us, we have to open doors so that people can come to Christ and we have to tear down barriers of hostility or elitism. Because the souls of every person cry out, “Athirst is my soul for the Living God.” Who, then, are we to hinder God’s unifying work?