Tag Archives: Good Shepherd

4th Sunday of Easter – Cornerstones in the Shepherd’s Care – Catholic Inspiration

Three Great Things

Fr. Andrew’s 4th Sunday of Easter Homily Podcast

How do we face rejection?  How do we confront the obstacles and roadblocks that are part of life?  Two key points surface:

  • Strength
  • Wisdom

May we call upon the Lord for what we need – regardless of our vocation in life – to find our way!

This homily was given at Cathedral of Christ the King on Sunday, April 26, 2015.


4th Sunday of Easter – Shepherd & Stone

StJohnsAshfield_StainedGlass_GoodShepherd_Portrait

Study:  How have I responded to rejection in my life?  What has given me strength?

Pray:  What challenges do I need to set before the Lord today?

Serve:  Who is struggling with rejection in my life?  How can I help and support another?

4th Sunday of Easter Readings

Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

At first glance these readings seem to be a jumble: what do stones have to do with shepherds?  How are they connected to the person of Jesus Christ?

A quick overview might look like this:

  • 1st Reading – Jesus was rejected, yet his triumph saves us (a rejected rock becomes the cornerstone)
  • Psalm Response – this is the text that Peter used to describe Jesus in the 1st Reading
  • 2nd Reading – the world does not know Jesus, but his disciples do – and they are being transformed
  • Gospel – Jesus claims that he is the Good Shepherd who knows the sheep and he is willing to lay down his life for them

What we discover points to Jesus as the Lord who has encountered rejection and triumphs through his saving sacrifice.  The power he has comes from the Father, who sent his Son to save us, even when we didn’t understand.  What’s more, God keeps reaching out to us – breaking through our ignorance, weakness and sin – to build a bridge that leads us to new life.

God comes to us, in our need, to save and set us free.

The invitation today is one of acceptance.  Will we embrace the Good News of Christ?  Will we respond to the faith, hope, and love of the Gospel and allow our lives to be touched by God’s blessing?  Is there anything blocking me from reaching out to the Lord?

In the light of Easter glory I would like to suggest some possibilities for spiritual growth:

  • Experience the power of the Sacrament of Confession
  • Dig deep into the Gospel readings of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
  • Crank up our prayer lives with a personal devotion, spiritual reading, or time of reflection
  • Strengthen our relationships with the support of Christian fellowship and prayer
  • Commit some time and effort to serve another in need

Thus, the path which the Lord walked becomes our own.  Our spiritual compass – pointed toward Jesus Christ, inspires us to stay the course even when we are mistreated and misunderstood.  Like the shepherd and the stone, we can face rejection with the promise of hope – for we draw strength from the one who triumphed in his struggles to bring triumph to our lives.

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The Good Shepherd, Alfred Handel, d. 1946 – photo by Toby Hudson (20 December 2009); stained glass, 770 x 600 pixels, St. John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales.

 

 


4th Sunday of Easter – The Gate of the Shepherd

sheep gate

Study:  When have I heard the Lord calling me?  How have I responded?

Pray:  Take time to ask Jesus for guidance and strength.

Serve:  How can I support someone who is searching for meaning, purpose, and answers in life?

4th Sunday of Easter Readings        Fr. Andrew’s Homily Podcast

During my travels in Israel, I had the opportunity to visit with some of the Palestinian people who raised sheep in the rocky countryside.  On one of my trips I met a young boy named Ali who was twelve years old.  He was very shy until I asked him if he would show me his sheep.  With a huge smile he took me by the hand and led me out into a small enclosure.

As we approached the sheep Ali began to call them by name – “Ahmed, Azim, Abram” – and so on.  When the animals heard their names, they came one by one to be fed with some grain Ali had brought.  I marveled at how the sheep trusted this little boy, for without fear or worry they came immediately at the sound of his voice.

After a few minutes I asked if I could feed the sheep.  Ali gave me a grin and said, “You can try.”  He handed me some grain and I tried calling the sheep.

“Azim!  Here Azim!”  I kept calling the sheep but they merely looked at me and moved away.  When I realized that the sheep would not come to me I looked at Ali.  His chest swelled with pride and he said, “They only come to me, because they know me!”

A shepherd’s life is not easy.  The sheep must be constantly guarded from wild animals that prey upon them.  Shepherds endure long, lonely hours exposed to the cold and the elements, ensuring that the sheep will always be under constant care.  Because they are together so much, the shepherd knows each sheep, and they respond when called.

In the Gospel today the Lord tells us that he our shepherd and gate.  The image reminds us that we too are cared for and loved by one who is always near, always listening to our needs and seeking our protection.  Our Lord not only loves us, but knows us intimately – better than we know ourselves.

Yet just as the Ali’s sheep made the choice to listen to the shepherd and not to a stranger, so we too make choices in our response to the many voices in our world.  We know that their are many elements in our world that if we heed would only lead to temptation and sin.

The Shepherd invites us each day to follow his call.  Let us hear his words and respond, thus being guided by the one who knows us out of love.