Father Nathan Homily | May 3, 2020
Father Nathan | Homily
4th Sunday of Easter
First Reading — ACTS 2:14A, 36-41
Responsorial Psalm — 23: 1-3A, 3B4, 5, 6
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
Second Reading — 1 Peter 2:20B-25
Gospel Reading — John 10:1-10
“I came so that they might have life
And have it more abundantly.”
I am not sure how many of you have seen sheep and how many of you seen the goats. There are drastic differences between the sheep and goats at the same time the one who maintains and takes care of the sheep and goats is called a shepherd. In today’s gospel, Jesus is talking about the sheep.
Hereafter, in the coming weeks we would be hearing from Jesus, stating
There are seven of these statements in John.
“I am the bread of life” – John 6
“I am the light of the world” – John 8 and 9
“I am the door” – John 10
“I am the good shepherd” – John 10
“I am the resurrection and the life” – John 11
“I am the way, the truth, and the life”. – John 14
Finally, # 7
“I am the true vine” – John 15
These are self-disclosures of Jesus. He is telling us who he is. When anyone tells us who they are—especially the Lord Jesus—we should probably listen.
Let us now maybe try to dig in to find out where the words “I AM” are coming from. Exodus 3:13-14 I quote
“Then Moses asked God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ What should I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” It continues “This is My name forever, and this is how I am to be remembered in every generation…”
so now we understand where does this name comes from.
Having this at the back of our mind, let us try to understand who is the shepherd, what is the sheep and the gate??
Our present Pope Francis’ address to the world’s priests at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, March 28, 2015, Pope Francis urged Catholic bishops and priests to go out among their flocks and know the people they serve like “shepherds living with the smell of their sheep. He quotes today’s gospel
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” God’s grace comes alive and flourishes to the extent that clergy are among their flocks giving themselves and the gospel to others. This I ask of you: you must be shepherds who smell like your sheep.”
The difference between sheep and shepherd:
We might have heard these phrases or expressions “sheep mentality” which means that the shepherds go in front of the sheep and all the sheep invariable follow him. Where ever the Shepherd goes the sheep will follow him at his back. There is total trust in the shepherd. The sheep move and live as a group.
On the contrary, goats are a little mischievous. The shepherds will be at the back of the goats because each one of the goats goes on their own way hence the shepherd will be at the back of the goats of bringing them together.
Sheep folds were not like the corrals ranchers build in the United States. They were crude affairs, often built of bushes or branches, or a best a low row of stones. Still, they were enough to contain the sheep and keep them from wandering into danger.
Several flocks were often penned together. This was done to provide them with more safety. The flocks would mingle until the sheep were separated by the calls of the shepherd. The shepherd had a closer relationship with the sheep of his flock than Western ranchers because of size. Middle Eastern flocks were usually small. Shepherds knew the sheep of their flocks by name—they had pet names for them—and the sheep recognized the voice of their shepherd.
Shepherds would become the gate to the sheepfold. They would lie in front of the opening to the fold so that nothing could enter without them knowing. Human gates provided entrance to the fold and protection from threats outside.
Hence it’s the shepherd is the protector, lifeguard, life-giver, securer and everything. Understanding this role of the shepherd only Jesus says today
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
This the prime purpose of Jesus being the shepherd.
Now how about the gate…gate is the screen machine… when he says I am the gate, he talking or claims that he is THE CHURCH. He claims that he is the church. Hence he knows, what’s good what is not good. What can go in and what should not go in.
Once St. Augustine questions himself what are three virtues to be a good Christion life I quote
“The way to Christ is first through humility, second through humility, and third through humility. If humility does not precede and accompany and follow every good work we do, if it is not before us to focus on, it is not beside us to lean upon, if it is not behind us to fence us in, pride will wrench from our hand any good deed we do at the very moment we do it”. I continue “Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being little. Think first about the foundations of humility. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation. Modest humility is beauty’s crown”.
I have no reservation to make these statements, Church has encountered trillions of issues down the centuries in and out, it’s only lack of humility. When you intend to enter inside the sheepfold through the gate “YOU NEED TO BEND DOWN TO GO IN” you need to humble yourself…period. Taking the master as our model, let us be humble ourselves, remembering it’s THE virtue that CHRIST took the save the world …
Secondly, as we are thinking about shepherd and sheepfold… am I belong to sheepfold? Do I follow him? Remember goats are NOT Sheep… sheep place their trust on the shepherd follow him trusting that the shepherd would save them, protect them, feed them, and do anything for them…do I trust in my master?
Finally let us pray that our shepherd Jesus Christ would redeem, save, and protect the world now from this pandemic virus that we may have a safe life and enjoy our lives in fullness.
Stay safe and be reassured that God is with you in this time of crisis and isolation!
Stay connected to others during this time through phone, email, and social media.
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