4th Sunday of Easter 2010
By Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas
April 25, 2010
April 25, 2010
I ran across a story that I hope you will enjoy: It was on the 30th anniversary of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's death. When New York Archbishop Dolan thanked God for the life of the memorable television and radio personality that was Bishop Sheen. Bishop Dolan said that while he was a seminarian in Rome he saw a crowd gathered around the famous archbishop. Sheen told the crowd he had come from an audience with Pope Paul VI. Someone asked what the pope had said to him. Sheen blushed and replied, "The Holy Father said, 'Fulton Sheen, you will have a high place in heaven,' "
Someone else asked Sheen what he had replied to the Pope. Sheen said, "Your Holiness, would you mind making that an infallible statement?"
In today's Gospel, Jesus tells us that we are His flock and that he is giving us eternal life, and no one will snatch us out of the Father's hand. He has promised all of us that we will have a high place in heaven.
I ran across another story that reinforces the idea of the Good Shepherd and our roll in that mission. It is said that Mother Teresa was caring for a dying man and at one point he looked up at her and said, "does your God look like you?" Mother responded that she tries to do what God wants her to do at which he responded, "if your God looks like you I want to be His follower."
I pose the question to you, what did the man see in Mother Teresa? He, for sure saw the Love of God that shown from the eyes of Mother Teresa, for him, who he know did not look or feel lovable. What a gift she gave to him on his death bed to know that he was loved and that the God he saw reflected in mother eyes was his God as well.
Father Mullady tells of a time when he visited a Benedictine abbey when he was invited by an abbey shepherd to come and see his sheep. Having preached on the subject but never experienced what he was about to see. The Sheep were at the other side of the pasture when the shepherd called in a loud voice: "Halo, Halo," and the sheep prickled up their ears and rushed over the shepherd. They heard the call of the shepherd and recognized someone who cared for them, they sought refuge and guidance from him.
Had others made the same call, the sheep would not have responded.
There was a new bishop who wanted his picture taken with a flock of sheep as to show his ministry to the flock of Christ. Dressed in his Episcopal vestment, miter and crosier, the trouble began because every time he walked up to the sheep they ran away. Supposedly he joked that he hoped this was not a comment by God on his pastoral ministry! You know what I thought when I read this: didn't they know that they could take two pictures and super-impose!
God calls each of us, with an eternal providence, as our shepherd. The trouble is that some hear the voice and recognize him and others do not. "The sheep that belong to me listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal Life."
But grace must find an open spirit to receive it. God never acts against the nature of something he has created and man's is characterized by freedom.
In Acts, Paul and Barnabas tirelessly give the world God's call to repentance, to believe in eternal life bought by Christ. They always go first to the Jews, and do so in typical synagogue speech, as recounted today in Pisidian Antioch. Some believed. They listened not just with their ears, but with their hearts, and this was the occasion of Paul and Barnabas also to go to the Gentiles. And when the gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of God: they believed and were baptized to eternal life.
We too, as gentiles, have heard the call of the Good Shepherd and as it turned out because of the gentiles the word of God has spread throughout the world. Had Jesus decided to spread His Word only through the Jews or for that matter only by His own presence we would not have even heard the Word at this time in history.
Each of us who have responded to the call of the Good Shepherd are called to evangelize the world or at least our little corner of it. Please do not wait for Father and I do the evangelizing for you will have to wait a hopeless long time. Father and I are called to serve and teach you in a manner by which all of you can go into the work-a-day world and by your example and prayer be part of the reality of the Good Shepherd, the one who calls and receives an answer as one whose voice is known.
You can well imagine, if each of us truly responds to the call of the Good Shepherd and then to live it to the fullest. The world would be a much different place, a world living the Divine attributes in a attitude of Love. A world imaging Eternity so much so that those who are hearing the call for the first time would marvel. See how they love one another. And looking into our eyes seeing what the dying man saw in the eyes of Mother Teresa. LOVE
'Thank you' to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here.