How many wars or conflicts are caused by one group of people believing that they are different from others?  In the Gospel reading assigned for today, Jesus addresses this whole issue of exclusivity.  In Ancient Israel, many of the Jewish religious leaders believed that Israel was the only nation important to God.  They believed that other nations were ultimately destined for destruction.  Jesus made it clear that God’s sheep are not only from Judaism but also from the non-Jewish world.  True, Jesus, for practical reasons, encouraged his followers to start with the ‘lost sheep of Israel’ but then made it clear that the Church’s mission was universal.  Jesus stayed and taught in Samaria, praised the Roman centurion for his faith, told a story about a good Samaritan and declared that many from the North, South, East and West will sit down in the Kingdom of God.  Lord forbid that we should ever think that our Christian faith is only for us and people like us.

Acts 4:5-12

Psalm 23

1 John 3:16-24

John 10:11-18