“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
This Sunday is the fourth Sunday of the Easter Season, but we also call it "Good Shepherd" Sunday after the image of the Good Shepherd presented in our readings today.
In our world today, there are many figures, things, and powers competing to be our shepherds, to lead us in the way they think we should go. Politicians try to lead us to toward or away from this or that cause. Universities try to lead us toward this or that philosophy. The media tries to lead us toward this or that set of values they think we should embrace or disregard. There are so many influences in our lives. To whom shall we go? How can we tell the good voices from the bad? Who are the good shepherds?
True shepherds are those who lead their flock with self-sacrificial love. When the wolves come among them, does the shepherd run away, afraid for his own welfare, neglecting that of his sheep? Or does he stay, throwing himself among them, standing guard and confronting the wolves in order to protect the sheep? This can be a test for anything or anyone trying to shepherd your life. What does that shepherd do when you are really in danger, a danger that could envelope the shepherd too?
The story of the good shepherd that we hear from Scripture, about the shepherd who had one hundred sheep but was willing to leave 99 of them in order to find the one that is lost, teaches us a valuable lesson. All of humanity was the lost sheep lost in the desert, lost in our sins and distant from God. But before we could be lost forever, Jesus our Good Shepherd left the glory of heaven, so to speak, left the 99 and came among us to reclaim us as his own, to take our lot upon his shoulders and carry us home.
Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish." Through all the voices crying out to lead us, can we hear and recognize the voice of Jesus? Today we must show to the those inside and outside of the Church that the Church is still Good, that Jesus Christ is her Head and Shepherd and through the Church continues and expands his ministry of healing and forgiveness to all of mankind for all generations… That the Church is still True, it still loves, still brings the satisfaction of every deepest human longing. That through the sacraments of the Church we may still partake of the very Divine Life of God and are sustained by his own Precious Body and Blood. That the Church still suffers with us, prays with us, rejoices with us, worships with us, lives with us and is with us when we die, "wiping away every tear from our eyes." I must do my own part in restoring this voice where it has fallen short. I must do my own part in assisting Jesus in saving the lost sheep and calling them home.
Together, we can cooperate with the Good Shepherd to help move the Church forward in truth, honesty, and virtue. Together, we can remain strong so the one lost sheep might find a faithful fold in which to be refreshed and restored in times of despair. Together, we can work and pray for peace and unity that can only come from Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.
St. Valentine Faith Community
Mass: 10AM Every Sunday
2301 E Sunset Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-523-8963 Rev Sue Provost, Pastor
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)