HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF EASTER YEAR C
THEME: “MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE, AND I KNOW THEM”
BY: Fr. Arthur Ntembula
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY MAY 8 2022
(Acts 13:14.43-52, Revelation 7:9.14-17, John 10:27-30)
Jesus embodies all the qualities of a good shepherd. He knows his sheep, each by name. He leads them to greener pastures and protects them from vultures. Who are his sheep? It is those who hear his voice and heed what he says. Among the many voices that they hear, they recognize his voice, they single it out and obey it. The second reading tells us where Jesus, the shepherd and sacrificial lamb, leads his flock: It is to the springs of living waters. There his sheep shall not thirst or hunger no more. They shall not be burnt by the scorching heat from the sun. Where Jesus leads them, God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. It doesn’t matter the tribulations they may have to endure in their life, like the apostles in the first reading, but as long as they do not depart from their shepherd, Jesus Christ, they shall triumph.
Jesus leads, we follow. To be the sheep, led by Christ, means that we should express the spirit of docility, trusting in his guidance. Just as Jesus is our good shepherd, today we are invited to be the good sheep as well. How can we be his flock if we do not listen and obey? The good sheep have to be open to being instructed. The stubborn sheep won’t obey any voice and certainly won’t be guided. They will do things the way they think. They will live their life the way they feel. They, therefore, will depart from the good shepherd, leading themselves to eternal damnation. Let us reflect: What kind of sheep are we? Good or stubborn? Jesus is constantly calling out each one of us by name. Unless we take a break from the activities and worries of the world, we cannot hear his voice. A good follower listens, obeys and acts on the instruction.
In today’s message, Jesus is also challenging those who are in positions of power, both in secular and religious circles, to emulate him. What kind of shepherds are they? Are they taking after the principal shepherd, Jesus Christ or have they mapped for themselves how they think shepherding should be done? As they make decisions on behalf of those they lead, where is their interest? Today they are reminded that in their activities of shepherding, their interest should be to serve so as to heal and liberate the sheep. Once they begin to feed themselves, forgetting about their sheep, they cease to be shepherds. Leaders who distance themselves from the leadership of Christ lose the quality of leadership. They start misleading.
At any given point in life, we are either shepherds or sheep. When we are shepherds, what is the quality of our work? Where do we lead those who have been entrusted to our care? Sometimes we have to be led like the sheep. Do we listen? Do we obey? Or are we the stubborn type? As Christians, we have Jesus as our good shepherd, and today he says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” We indeed belong to Jesus whenever we sit at his feet to listen to him and obey his word. And when we do this, nothing shall ever snatch us away from him.
ENJOY YOUR LITURGY
Fr. Arthur Ntembula