HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C , GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY
THEME: THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND THE GOOD MOTHER
BY: Fr Andrew Ekpenyong
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 8 2022
1. Mother’s Day Joke. Mrs Smith said to her 8-year old son, Jimmy, “Look at that kid over there; he’s not misbehaving.” And Jimmy responded: “Maybe because that kid has good parents!” Brothers and sisters, today is Good Shepherd’s Sunday and also Mother’s Day. There are many beautiful parallels. The good mother is a good shepherd over her children. The good Shepherd cares for His flock like a good mother cares for her children. Jesus the Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep. But not-so-good mothers kill their babies through abortion. Today, we adore Jesus our Good Shepherd, we celebrate our mothers, who chose life. In gratitude to both, we resolve to stop misbehaving like Jimmy, we resolve to become better children of our mothers, better citizens of our motherland, and better members of the flock of God, so as to become better children of God and ultimately, citizens of Heaven.
2. Better Sheep. In today’s Gospel reading (Jn 10:27-30), Jesus our Good Shepherd describes His relationship with us: “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.” The 2nd reading (Rev 7:9, 14b-17) affirms the eternal life that Jesus our Good Shepherd has given to people all over the world, who are now citizens of Heaven having persevered to the end: “I, John, had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.” And what happens before we get to Heaven? While we are still here, our task is to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd, to become better sheep. In fact, in spite of the distress we go through, today’s 1st reading (Acts 13:14, 43-52) reminds us of the happiness we get from living by the voice of our Good Shepherd, the delight the gentiles experienced when they accepted the Good news of Christ and even the joy of Paul and Barnabas in the midst of persecution: “The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord.” (Acts 13:48). “The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit .” (Acts 13:52).
3. Better Children. Sisters and brothers, Jesus our Good Shepherd not only tells us what to do, He leads the way, by example. While hanging on the Cross to save us His sheep, He taught us how to be good children of our parents, how to care for parents. In spite of His pain, He turned to His widowed mother and said: “woman, behold your son” and to His beloved disciple He said, “behold your mother”. That transfer of responsibility was well understood and was carried out. “And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home”. (Jn. 19:25–27). Wow. What a practical way to keep the commandment: Honor your father and your mother! As we resolve to become better children of our parents in imitation of Christ our Good Shepherd, let us celebrate our mothers in poetry and song. Please pardon me if this sounds unfamiliar to you, but this old and classic poem by Ann Taylor, titled “My Mother”, is known around the world. It conveys to me the example of Christ the Good Shepherd, in caring for His mother and challenges me to be a better child. Let’s sing.
1. Who sat and watch’d my infant head, When sleeping on my cradle bed, And tears of sweet affection shed? My Mother.
2. When pain and sickness made me cry, Who gaz’d upon my heavy eye, And wept, for fear that I should die? My Mother.
3. Who ran to help me when I fell, And would some pretty story tell,
Or kiss the place to make it well? My Mother.
4. Who taught my infant lips to pray, And love God’s holy book and day, And walk in wisdom’s pleasant way? My Mother.
5. And can I ever cease to be; Affectionate and kind to thee, Who wast so very kind to me, My Mother.
6. Ah! no, the thought I cannot bear; And if God please my life to spare, I hope I shall reward thy care, My Mother.
7. When thou art feeble, old, and gray, My healthy arm shall be thy stay, And I will soothe thy pains away, My Mother.
8. And when I see thee hang thy head, ‘Twill be my turn to watch thy bed, And tears of sweet affection shed, My Mother.