Who is included in God’s Church? Today’s readings make it clear that everyone is included. In the Acts of the Apostles, we hear how Paul and Barnabas preached the Word of God as they travelled, to pagans as well as Jews. In the book of the Apocalypse, John has a vision of the Church gathered before the throne of Jesus, the Lamb of God. He sees ‘a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language.’ Everyone is welcome in God’s kingdom. Nation or race, language or tribe are not important – only faith.
In the Gospel, Jesus speaks of himself as the Good Shepherd, who knows each one of his sheep. The Church includes ‘a huge number, impossible to count;’ but the Lord knows every member of his Church by name, and he loves each one uniquely. Every sheep is precious to the Good Shepherd.
Jesus goes on to say, ‘the Father and I are one.’ Jesus’ love for God’s people flows from the love and unity of Father and Son. As members of God’s Church, we are invited to share in their love.