4th Sunday of Easter, Year C – Homily

4th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Acts 13:14, 43-52
Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5 (3c)
Revelation 7:9, 14b-17
John 10:27-30
May 12, 2019

Our gospel reading is quite short today but there’s still a lot we can talk about today.  The gospel passage I just read is only four verses but it comes from what is known as Jesus’ Good Shepherd Discourse in chapter 10 of John’s gospel.

As you may know, our Sunday lectionary is on a three-year cycle.  Every year on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, we hear some portion of the Good Shepherd discourse.  So, this Sunday is often referred to as Good Shepherd Sunday.

In this discourse, Jesus’ describes his role and relationship with his people.  He is the good shepherd who watches over his people.  As his sheep, we are to listen to his voice.  It is his calling, it is his vocation to shepherd us.

Understanding Jesus as the Good Shepherd, today is also the World Day of Prayer for Vocations in our Catholic Church.  That means it is a day for all of us to reflect on how God is calling each of us to be his disciples.  It might be in a vocation to married life.  For others it might be to the single life.  For some called to the single life, it can include a specific vocation to religious life or priesthood but not all.  

Being a parent is a vocation in how you raise your children to follow Jesus.  Thus, it is fitting that today, being the second Sunday of May, is also Mother’s Day.  It is a day when we express our gratitude and love to our mothers for the sacrifices they have made for us.

In the first reading from Acts, we hear of Paul going out on his first missionary journey.  He was a called to a vocation as a missionary, travelling to places where the gospel had not been heard to tell them about Jesus.  As we heard in today’s readings, not everyone liked what he preached. 

In the same way, sometimes our mothers have to tell us things we don’t want to hear.  They may make us do things we don’t want to do.  As long as it doesn’t conflict with what God wants, we need to respect what our mothers say.  When we are young, we obey what they say.

Motherhood is a not a vocation based on being popular.  Motherhood is a vocation rooted in helping children be good, to be who God calls them to be.

As a vocation, rooted in it is the spread of the gospel.  Mothers are called to share Jesus with their children because we are all called to be part of what John’s describes in the Book of Revelation as the vision of the “great multitude” he has of the people in Heaven.

We would like the journey to Heaven to be an easy one.  Yet, John speaks in Revelation about those “who have survived the time of great distress.”  Being a Christian isn’t always easy.  Neither is being a mother.  Sometimes children cause their mothers “great distress.”

The reality is we don’t always listen to Jesus’ voice.  Likewise, we don’t always listen to our mothers.  So, today is a day to thank our mothers for their continued love for us even when we have caused them distress.

Do you ask yourself how Jesus is calling you to live out your life?  Or do you think you know what is best for you?  Do you strive to listen to his voice?  Or do we make choices that violate what Jesus teaches?  Do we sin?

You see, Jesus knows us better than we know ourselves.  We know what we have done.  Jesus does too.  Jesus also knows what gifts He has given us.  He knows what we are capable of.  He knows what we are created for.

This is true for us as individuals and it is true for us as a community of believers.  We need to listen to Jesus’ voice.  Hopefully, you are all aware that we had an ad hoc committee with representation from all the Catholic parishes in Wayne County on how we can work together to ensure the continuing presence of the Catholic Church in Wayne County for years to come.  We asked God to guide that group.  Now, there are beginnings of a plan.  It won’t be easy.  There will be sacrifices, like the loss of a Mass here, tentatively the 4:30 Mass but we do this to strengthen us to work together with ministries like our faith formation for youth and children.  We are still waiting to hear from the diocese if the plan will be implemented this year or later.  I do believe that coming together can strengthen us.  We pray that Jesus as the Good Shepherd guides this process and each of us in our own lives.

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