Homily :: May 7, 2017
05/07/17: Fourth Sunday of Easter & Confirmation
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The fourth evangelist, John, offers a discourse from Jesus about being shepherd and sheep gate. The voice of Jesus assures the late first century Christian community of the importance of listening to his voice and resting in his safety. Jesus promises to keep the flock (the Christian community) safe from thieves and robbers. For the community today, it is important that our music and liturgy focus on the voice of the shepherd and not get too impressed with having our own voices, gifts and talents get in the way.
The selection from the Acts of the Apostles exhorts people of faith who have heard the message to be “baptized…for the forgiveness of your sins” and “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The words of Peter have been prescient for many generations, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” The more things change, the more they stay the same. In all times and generations, the culture has been a challenge to living a life of faith in Jesus Christ and being witnesses to the world of God’s power over sin and death.
The words from the First Letter of Peter offer us a glimpse of how we are to embrace suffering to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Whereas our culture embraces vengeance and revenge, the redemptive suffering and sacrifice of Jesus our what we are to embrace. Like the non-violence of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, we are exhorted to “return no insult”, not to threaten but to hand ourselves over willingly for the sake of our faith. Doing so, we will be saved by the shepherd who knows his sheep.
By Dale J. Sieverding © 2008, OCP. All rights reserved.