April 22, 2018

A HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (GOOD SHEPHERD) –  4/22/18 –  SMG

+  Pax et Bonum!    Peace and goodness to you this day!

It is no secret to any of us, in today’s world, that there are both good and bad people out there.  As we go through this life, we hope to see out the good ones.  We like people who are trustworthy, and fair, and honest, and hard-working, and who do the right thing.  In fact, not only do we like people that have those qualities, but we also very much want to be good people like that.  We want to be good at what we do.  We want to have the right values.  We want to be at the top of our game.  We want to be our best, for God, for others, and most especially for ourselves!

But today, we know that there are good doctors out there, and there are bad doctors out there.  All one has to do is think of that Larry Nasser, from USA Gymnastics, and we remember that there are some really bad doctors out there.  Same is true of businessmen, excuse me, businesspeople.  There are good business people, and there are bad business people.  There are good software engineers and there are bad software engineers.  We know that there are good priests, and we know, unfortunately, that we’ve had some bad priests, really bad priests, who broke our hearts, as a Church.  But we also know that there are really good clowns, who are funny and make us laugh, and there are really bad clowns, that can scare us to death.  Good and bad are realities.  And each day, each one of us, must make up our minds, whether we are going to be good, or be bad, at we strive to do or to be.

We come to Mass today on this Fourth Sunday of Easter,  Good Shepherd Sunday, and on this one Sunday out of the year, we are reminded that we have a Good Shepherd in Heaven, Who loves us, protects us, feeds us, and watches over us, unlike any other!  Jesus is NOT a mediocre shepherd, or a kinda nice shepherd, or a “He’ll-make-do-until-we-can-someone-else” shepherd.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  And as the Gospel says, He know us, inside and out.   He lays down His life for His sheep.   This is not some hired shepherd, doing it for money, that is going to run off the first time He sees a wolf.  No, this Good Shepherd has a vested interest in us, because we belong to Him.  We know His voice, and we can follow His lead.  Life is clear when we let Him lead us.  This Good Shepherd lays down His life willingly for us, and has the power to take that life up again!  This is who we want leading us, as we go through this life.   And today we are most grateful for our Good Shepherd!

As we celebrate our loving and protective God today, we also call to mind that to have a Good Shepherd, also means that we must be good sheep!  And that’s a little tougher for us to handle.  So many times, in today’s world, we want to be the lion, or the tiger, or the bear.  We want to be strong, at the top of the food chain, a dangerous predator that can protect itself.  And how’s that working out for us?  Do we really think that we can do it on our own?  Of course, not.  It’s killing us.  We can’t protect ourselves.  And we’re not in charge, even when we like to think that are.  We need a Good Shepherd!  We need the best Shepherd!  And that’s exactly Who and What we get, in Jesus Christ!

But we also need to be good sheep!  We need to listen to the Good Shepherd.  We need to be obedient, the Good Shepherd.  We need to take the guidance that the Good Shepherd gives us, and realize that it is the way that we are going to thrive, and live, and be happy.  The Good Shepherd is NOT an enemy.  The Good Shepherd is meant to be our salvation.  He is the One Who is going to safely navigate us through this world and through this life, because He knows the Way!

My brothers and sisters, we cannot do it on our own.  We need this Jesus!  St. Peter tells us in our First Reading today that there is no salvation through anyone else other than Jesus.  We don’t have to earn or merit it, we simply have to choose to follow Him.  Even in our weakness and our helplessness, Jesus still loves us, because He is the Good Shepherd!

Now, let us be good sheep!  Let us be obedient in the very best sense of that word!  Let us be full of Faith and Trust!  Let us listen for His voice in our lives always.  Let us heed His commands and His warnings.  Let us accept His care and His protection with humility, and grace, and gratitude!    And let us follow Him and His lead, every day for the rest of our lives!

 

+  May God bless us, as we follow His Son,   Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…            Pray for us !!!