Catholic homily for Tuesday of the 4th Week of Easter
Theme: The good shepherd
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Tuesday
The feast of the Dedication was then taking place in Jerusalem. It was winter. And Jesus walked about in the temple area on the Portico of Solomon.
The Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. The Father and I are one.”
The Gospel today is still the continuation on the theme of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The big problem is that many people do not acknowledge or recognize this truth.
Jesus explains why: “But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep.” In other words, their unbelief is due to their alienation from the Lord. In a manner of speaking, they are not on the same wavelength as Our Lord’s. A radio station, for instance, can continually broadcast news and music, but if one does not tune in to the station, he will not be able to hear these.
It is, therefore, important that if Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and if we want to be nurtured and protected by Him, we make sure we are the true sheep of His flock. The Lord identifies the three most basic requirements to be such: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
“They hear my voice.” The sheep can easily recognize the voice of its own shepherd. This is simply because it listens only to him, and not to other shepherds. To be able to do this, it has to consistently stay close to him and be truly familiar with him.
A disciple is a follower – wherever the leader goes, he follows. And he follows closely so that he can hear attentively and understand everything his leader says. Such is what a Christian should be. There are many voices that saturate the world, many of them loud, very appealing and attractive. But in the midst of all these, a Christian should easily be able to hear and discern the voice of Jesus.
“I know them.” The shepherd knows each member of his flock, and he calls them by name. Any outsider that joins his flock he recognizes right away. He puts distinctive marks on each of them that make them easily recognizable. In a similar way, the disciple of the Lord is easily recognized by one distinctive mark, viz., love. Jesus said: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).
“They follow me.” Listening to the shepherd is not enough. The sheep has to follow always the direction and instructions of the shepherd. Otherwise, it is in danger of getting lost and even harmed. A Christian must be such. Listening is not enough. The Lord said that: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 7:21).
This is also what He said when someone mentioned His Mother: ʺBlessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!ʺ (Lk 11:28). This was precisely what the Blessed Mother did all throughout her earthly life. Truly, she was the first and perfect disciple of the Lord. She was always in tune with God: she hears and follows the Good Shepherd at all times.
Let the words of the famous church hymn, “Day by Day”, be our constant prayer: “Day by day, O dear Lord, three things I pray: to know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day” (Chalice Hymnal #599).
May we, then, look forward with joy and eagerness towards the day the Apostle Peter envisions for us all: “When the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory (1Peter 5:4).
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
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