Sunday, April 21, 2013

4th Sunday of Easter Year C - 2013

Jesus said:

“My sheep hear my voice;

I know them, and they follow me.”

When I was growing up, our neighborhood was like a huge playground.

There were many young families with kids and the whole neighborhood was under watchful eye of stay at home moms.

If someone fell off their bike a mom would be there.

If there was a fight or should I say when there was a fight, a mom or a couple of moms would appear and break it up.

The cool moms wouldn’t even tell your mother.

Until High School the rule on our street  was when the first street light came on the game stopped and you went home.

All of the families enforced it equally.

The problem was getting us in for supper.

There there was even a system for that in our neighborhood.

The Cheektowaga moms would simply go out and scream.

“Rob / Greg supper time,” and we were supposed be listening for her, hear her and go home.

Mrs Bashnagle got so sick of yelling for her son Joey that she went out and got herself a bell.

Half of Cheektowaga heard when Joey had to go home.

We all hoped that our Mothers wouldn’t get a bell.

“My sheep hear my voice;

I know them, and they follow me.”

  • Speaking frankly sometimes we heard our moms call and we didn’t go home.

  • Sometimes we really didn't hear and one of the other moms  would come out and say Robert Schlageter you go home right now your mother has been calling you for 15 minutes.

  • Sometimes we heard and did what we were supposed to do.

Its the same with our relationship with God.

Sometimes we just don’t hear God’s word and we need someone to help us hear it.

Sometimes we choose to ignore God’s word and refuse to follow.

Sometimes we hear God’s word and we integrate it into our lives and we follow it.

My sheep hear my voice; (or rather hear my word)

I know them, and they follow me.”

Yes sometimes people need our help and encouragement to understand God’s will and God’s Word.

There are so many people in our world who don’t know God.

They don’t know God’s word  and they never have the opportunity to hear it.

They don’t go to Church.

They are not surrounded by people with the consolation of faith.

It is very hard for them to change their hearts it's very hard for them to come to faith.

We are called to help people understand God’s word in their life.

Someone share God’s word with us, someone brought us to faith.

We are in this church right now because someone important to us proclaimed God’s word to us in a way which really motivated us.

Maybe it was what they said,

most probably it was their example, whatever the case we are here.

Who have we shared this most precious gift with?

Certainly sharing God’s word has to be done gently, humbly, tactfully, and above all compassionately.

If we are going to be arrogant or prideful when we try to share God’s word we are doomed to fail.

If we are angry or fed up or disappointed in someone sometimes It is better to keep our mouth shut until we calm down.

However,  God’s will, and God’s word and God’s love must be share truthfully, and completely, without fear and without compromise.

If we see someone making a mistake which puts them or their spiritual lives at risk we have an obligation to reach out.  

Catholics are not good at this.

We see the shipwreck coming but we simply choose not to do or say anything.

Once I heard a man talking about his friend’s marriage which had just ended horribly.

He said “I knew it wasn’t going to last. I saw all of their mistakes.”

I asked him, “did you pray for them... or fast for them, did you say anything to help them?

Did you try and stop the wreak?”

He looked at me sincerely and said “Who am I to say anything ?”

Jesus says, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,

It’s not just the priest’s job to share God’s word... we will be judged by how many people we bring home with us to heaven.

Sometimes not only do we fail to share God’s word but we also just don’t listen ourselves

All of us have ignored God’s word on occasion.

There is a word for that, we call it sin.

We sin when we place ourselves above God’s word and God’s will.

As strange as it sounds somehow we convince ourselves that we know better than God.

The world is filled with people who have been given every opportunity to know God’s will but refuse to listen to it..

Just like we heard our parents’ call but refused to go.

You know the first time you sin, you feel guilty,

but the more compromises we make,

and the more sins we commit the easier it becomes.

There are lots of us who know what is right and wrong but still choose wrong.

Do we really think we know better than God ?

Do we really think that something can be good for us when it is clearly against God’s will or God’s law?

Experience has shown that  only loneliness and sadness and bitterness, anger and even violence accompany us when we trust in ourselves rather than God.

Jesus said:

“My sheep hear my voice;

I know them, and they follow me.”

I am convinced

If we dare to hear Gods word and follow it,

if we chose to lovingly give our lives away rather than to keep them for ourselves,

if we willingly  follow in the footsteps of Christ and pick up our cross,

we might not be the richest,

or the most successful people in the eyes of world,

but we will have peace, and enjoy the consolation of faith.

Our life will be better if we choose to follow the Good Shepherd.

My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”


One more thing...

In light of the events in Boston. I want to read something that Cardinal O’Malley said..

This Patriots’ Day shakes us out of our complacency and indifference and calls us to focus on the task of building a civilization that is based on love, justice, truth and service.

We do not want to risk losing the legacy of those first patriots who were willing to lay down their lives for the common good.

We must overcome the culture of death by promoting a culture of life, a profound respect for each and every human being made in the image and likeness of God, and we must cultivate a desire to give our lives in the service of others.

Jesus said:

“My sheep hear my voice;

I know them, and they follow me.”

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