Fr. Jim homily

3 minute read


Acts 4:8-12; Ps. 118; 1 Jn. 3:1-2; Jn. 10:11-18

(Audio recorded live, 25 April 2021)

Today, on this Good Shepherd Sunday, Jesus gathers his disciples as one flock. He says, “I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” The image of the shepherd is indeed an ancient one. It has been used throughout history and the Scriptures to describe the benevolent king. It should certainly remind us of King David, who before he was anointed by the prophet Samuel, was himself a shepherd. David went from gathering sheep to gathering the twelve tribes of Israel into one kingdom. Jesus, who is in the line of David, also gathers the tribes together. As he says in Matthew’s gospel, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But, in today’s Gospel, Jesus extends his flock, saying, “I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. These also I must lead, and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” These other sheep are the people of the surrounding nations, and indeed those of the whole world. Together, we all make up the one flock of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, our Benevolent King, who assumed his throne by defeating sin and death through his own sacrifice. He does this of his own free will, saying, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.” This is the test of a true king. Is he willing to die for his own, or does he sacrifice others for his own benefit?

St. Peter, having been taught by the Master, humbly recognizes the role of the Good Shepherd even after his ascension into heaven. After healing the crippled man, the leaders of the people and the elders sent for Peter and began to question him. Our first reading today shows Peter’s testimony before these elders. They ask, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” In his humility, Peter recognizes that in and of himself he was unable to perform any miracle, rather, it was by his faith and the Name of Jesus the Nazorean that the crippled man was able to walk.

We do well to consider Peter’s humility with respect to his faith. We might also consider how we are living out our own faith. These are challenging times, and still more challenges will come our way. How are we handling our current struggle? Are we letting it cripple us, or are we pressing onward in faith, like Peter? Is our faith contagious? Do we extend it to others, lifting them up, as Peter did? Are we proudly professing the Name of Jesus?

It is through Jesus we have all been made brothers and sisters in Christ, sons and daughters of the Father. We are one flock, one family, one people under Christ, our King, the Good Shepherd. And so, today, as we reflect upon the great love of God, may the communion we share unite us in mind, body, and spirit to our Good Shepherd. Then, nourished by his Body and Blood, may our hearts overflow with love for one another, beginning with those closest to us and extending out into the world.

Given during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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