Homily for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, ©, May 12, 2019:
Jesus emphasizes that He is the Good Shepherd in today’s gospel reading. The central theme and main message from today’s gospel is Jesus’s act of loving, total, self-offering, and self-sacrifice. This is Jesus’s central mission. A good shepherd who will leave His flock to search for the one stray is unheard of. A good shepherd who will die for His flock is unprecedented. Today’s gospel is the money quote from a larger conversation Jesus has with His enemies. They approach Him and ask if He’s the Messiah. They say, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly”(John 10:24). Jesus answers them by saying He has told them and they don’t believe. They also don’t believe even though He does many works in His Father’s name. Those miracles testify to Jesus being the anointed one. But Jesus also says in verse 26 that “you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep”(John 10:26). Then verse 27 begins our gospel reading. The Jews, the Jewish religious leaders, refuse to believe that Jesus’s divine miracles are done through God His Father. They will not believe that Jesus Christ and God His Father are one. When the Jews hear Jesus say that, they intend to stone Him to death for blasphemy. That is point number one: Jesus Christ is the Messiah and His divine, miraculous works show that. But as the Messiah, Jesus is the Good Shepherd who will die for His sheep. Point number two is that the people who believe Jesus listen to His voice and follow Him. Jesus tells the Jewish religious leaders that they will not listen, will not believe, so therefore they are not of His sheep. They reject Jesus. Point number three is in verse 28. Jesus says: “I give them (my sheep) eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand”(John 10:28). Jesus’s protection for His sheep is equivalent to God His Father’s divine protection. Jesus has God’s sovereign power to shield the righteous from the threats of Satan. That is what verse 29 says. Then Jesus follows with verse 30: “The Father and I are one”(John 10:30). God the Father and God the Son, Jesus, are united in the loving embrace of the Holy Spirit. So therefore, we cannot divide the essential unity of the Holy Trinity. We can distinguish between the three persons of the one, triune God. But they are the same nature and the same substance.
There is a fourth point: “No one can take them out of my hand”(John 10:28). Jesus loves His sheep/followers so much that no one and nothing will come along and snatch them from Him. Those sheep can leave His hand, His flock, by their choice. But Jesus won’t lose them by Himself. So therefore, may we encourage the lost sheep in our families and in other faiths to return or to come to the Catholic Church, the Church Jesus established on the rock of St. Peter. May we encourage and invite those sheep who are way out on the periphery to come to this church, which will lead us all to Jesus, the Light of the World. Jesus has assistant shepherds, His priests. They help, just like His first priests did, His Apostles. But Jesus also has one incredible assistant who is a constant help to Him and to His Church. She is the Blessed Virgin Mary. She is Jesus’s mother. She is God’s mother, by God’s choice, not her own. The Blessed Virgin Mary is a humble, obedient, loyal handmaid of the Lord and of Her Son, Jesus Christ. She is not like Danerys Targareon or Cerci the Wight, from Game of Thrones. Jesus made the Blessed Virgin Mary our spiritual mother. We can and ought to pray to her. We can ask her to pray for us and for Jesus’ Roman Catholic Church. It is Mother’s Day. It is the month of Mary. May we pray the most powerful prayer of the Rosary to bring everyone back into the fold of one flock and one shepherd. St. Monica is a great, motherly example too.
So remember, one, Jesus Christ is the Messiah; His works testify to His unity with God the Father, and He will die for His sheep. Two: those who listen to Jesus and believe in Him, follow Him. Three: Jesus will give His sheep eternal life and He will faithfully protect them. And four: go out to the peripheries and encourage and invite people to repent and join this church or return to her. The greatest mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus’s mother and ours, will help. Pray the Rosary everyday. I wish all mothers a very Happy Mother’s Day.
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