Skip to content

Who Are His Sheep?

4th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Acts 13:14, 43-62
Revelation 7:0, 14b-17
John 10:27-30
April 21, 2013

 My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me.

Remember last week when the disciples saw Jesus on the shore but did not know it was him?  They still listened to him.  Even though they didn’t recognize him, when they heard his voice, they still listened.

They hear his, meaning the shepherd’s, voice.

Do we listen?

Are we part of his sheep?

Of course we are.  That is why we are gathered here.  We think we come on our own initiative but ultimately we are here because God has called us here.  Our part is to hear his voice and respond to it.

Jesus is our shepherd.  As our shepherd he watches over us and protects us. He guides us.  We respond to his calling to follow him.

This calling is our vocation.  We each have been given different gifts to use in different ways.  It begins when we are baptized and anointed with the Holy Spirit to be priest, prophet, and king.

I keep saying we, not just today but often when I preach.  Who is we?

In this setting at Mass, it seems “we” are those gathered here together.  I think of the third Eucharistic Prayer when I say, “at whose command we celebrate these mysteries.” 

Certainly, those of us gathered here are part of the “we” but I believe it extends beyond just us in this church.  The “we” are all who celebrate a common Mass across the world.

The word “Catholic” means universal.  We are not just a bunch of individual churches.  We are one church.

Is there anyone who isn’t part of the “we”?

Here again I turn to the Eucharistic Prayers.  In the words of consecration for the wine/blood, I say Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for MANY for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this is memory of me.

It says many.  It used to say all.  Does this mean we no longer think “all” will be saved, that not are Jesus’ sheep?


All are called and offered the gift of faith but not all will accept the gift to be Jesus’ sheep.

No one is excluded by God.

John, in writing of his vision of Heaven, says there was a great multitude of people from EVERY nation, race, people, and tongue.

The Jews thought themselves a chosen people.  They were.  The problem is they saw as “exclusive calling.”  God’s Word was and is always meant to be shared but they didn’t share it.

When Jesus came, he went first to the Jews as a chosen people.  The apostles like Paul begin in the same way.  Each time, when Paul went to a new town to preach, he first went to the synagogues to preach Jesus to the Jews.  When rejected, he then turned to the Gentiles as the gospel is meant to be heard by the Gentiles as well as the Jews.

Jesus is our shepherd.  We are meant to follow him but we are not required to.  Jesus keeps drawing us in but never forces himself on us.

We might wonder if Jesus is our shepherd then why do bad things happen.  Take the bombings at the Boston Marathon and all that followed that this week.  Does God cause such things?  Absolutely not.  God allows it because he gives us free will.  Those bombings happened because a couple of people made bad decisions.  Jesus was there with those who died.  Jesus is there with those injured and their families.  Jesus walks with us as his shepherd.

As the faithful shepherd, he keeps watch and speaks his voice to us, if we listen, so that we might follow him.

It’s our choice.  Some people chose to hurt, like the bombers at the Boston Marathon.  Others use what they have been to help others.  The latter is the example we work to set.

We are called not just to say we believe but to live it.



Leave a Reply