HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C
THEME: The intimate relationship between the Good Shepherd and the sheep.
BY: Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 8 2022
It is always a very nice feeling to know that God has got our back; He created us; He cares for us; He sustains us; and He wishes to bring all of us to dwell and reign with Him eternally at the end of time. Throughout all of history, God has never abandoned His creatures. He has continued to lead us even when we betray His course and choose other paths. In Christ Jesus, He has given us the surest path and the most solemn Model of life. In Jesus, God made Himself most accessible to us and the splendour of glorious Light most brilliant for us. Lord, may we never lose or betray our membership of the sheepfold You pasture; Amen.
The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as the Good Shepherd Sunday. This title is inspired by the Gospel Reading that is always taken from the Tenth Chapter of the Gospel of Saint John; the Gospel Passage of the Good Shepherd. The central message of this chapter of the Fourth Gospel is that we all belong to the sheepfold of God and He is our Shepherd. Today’s Gospel Reading (John 10:27-30) speaks to us about the intimate relationship between the Good Shepherd and the sheep. The Good Shepherd knows the sheep, they listen to Him, they follow Him, and they are very secure under His watch. Jesus teaches us two important characteristic of the sheep; they listen to the Shepherd and they follow Him. These two characteristic are very essential in our followership of the Lord and in Christian Spirituality. In fact, they are the features that determine if we have decided to be of the Lord. Unfortunately, the unfolding of things in the world today is making it very difficult to listen and to follow. There is so much noise and nuisance because everybody is talking and nobody is listening. There is so much confusion and chaos because everybody wants to be followed and nobody wants to follow. On the contrary, the Good Shepherd is inviting us to listen and to follow. We have to listen to Him because He has the very words that give meaning to all we do. We have to listen because He alone makes sense. In our personal lives, when we feel dejected and empty, it is imperative to listen to the Good Shepherd; He has something to say to you. In the family, when things are going wrong and there begin to emerge confusion and quarrels between couples and siblings; listen to the Good Shepherd, He has something to say to you! At our different places of work, with all the tensions, betrayals, gossips and backbiting that becloud our vision and goals; listen to the Good Shepherd, He has something to say to you. At those very difficult moments when it is very hard to make the right decision; listen to the Good Shepherd, He has something to say to you. When things are not going the way you wish them to go and when progress seems impossible; listen to the Good Shepherd, He has something to say to you. One of the greatest achievements we can make as sons and daughters of God is to learn to listen and follow. Helping others to learn the attitudes of listening to God and followership are part of the greatest gifts we can offer anybody.
The Good Shepherd has spoken to us through His Son Jesus Christ. He continues to speak to us by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in our hearts. In the Church, we hear Him speak to us. Through many of the Church’s ministers, He speaks to us in all the corners of the earth and in the various means of Social Communication. In the saints, we hear Him speaking to as well; speaking so clearly and profoundly. Unfortunately, sometimes we consciously or unconsciously reject and refute the voice and message of the Good Shepherd because of our individual motives and familiarity with His chosen vessels. This was the case with some of the Jews in the First Reading of today (Acts 13:14, 43-52) who “prompted by jealousy, used blasphemies and contradicted everything Paul said.” Irrespective of these, the Good Shepherd speaks to us through a diversity of means. He shows us the way to follow through many indications. What makes the difference is our ability to discern and understand the information He is conveying to us; our readiness to follow where He leads. One of the most important needs of all human creatures is that of security; security of life and of properties. The Good Shepherd has given us the shortest cut to gain comprehensive security in this life and in the life to come. This path includes listening to Him and following the path that He treads. For those who listen and follow, “the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Apocalypse 7:9, 14-17). Those who listen and follow are blessed on every side.
Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd of our souls, feed us, nourish us and replenish our strength. Grant us the grace to be docile so that by always listening to You and following the way You indicate to us we may never wander away from the sheepfold; Amen.
Fr Cyril Unachukwu CCE