Every writer knows the power of active voice. The power of prose written in active voice carries life. It moves the action forward. It engenders engagement.

Today, the Church raises up for us the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd. We are no longer in Holy Week and fooled by a portrayal of Jesus as one on whom suffering was imposed. Now, in the light of the Resurrection, we see a Risen Christ who teaches us about the power of “active offering.” We learn about the power that comes from entering into suffering and coming through it with new life.

Jesus was accused of being generous to a fault. He lifted up the downtrodden. He gave life to those whom others either oppressed or forgot about. These considered themselves lucky to have encountered him.

A number of years ago, I discovered a definition of “how to be lucky “written by choreographer Twyla Tharp. Her definition was simple: “Be generous.” She wrote of generosity as being: luck going in the opposite direction, away from us. Our generosity to someone makes them lucky. We actively offer ourselves to make things beneficial to others.

The Good Shepherd image of Jesus reminds us that he was a man for others, pouring out his life simply in living out the responsibilities of his everyday life. I met a young man who worked on a sheep farm in Connecticut.

Spring time especially was grueling because of the birthing of the lambs. He once told me, “Being with the ewes while they are giving birth is like being in battle.” He lost many nights of sleep as helped those ewes give birth to their lambs. He also told me he wouldn’t have wanted any other life.

To choose a life of active engagement with any form of life disrupts our small plans. So, why choose suffering? Why choose to serve and not be served? Why choose to be last and not first? Why choose to be like little children? Why? Why? Why?

The answer is challenging and not logical,” because in it, we will find lasting life.” In this way, we will live the paradox of actively giving our life away to have more life.

 

Christ our Life has risen! Alleluia!