Homily — 4th Sunday of Easter C April 29, 2007

Homily — 4th Sunday of Easter C April 29, 2007

Christ the Good Shepherd

In today’s Alleluia Verse we sing “I am the Good Shepherd says the Lord, I know my sheep and mine know me.”

We focus every year on this Fourth Sunday of Easter on Jesus the Good Shepherd.

The word for Shepherd in Latin is Pastor. I am the Good Pastor, says the Lord Jesus.

I’ve been reflecting much on Jesus the Good Pastor lately. I don’t know why!

Clearly, those who, like St. Peter in last week’s Gospel, are called by Christ to Feed and Tend His flock must take as their standard the example of Jesus.

I’d like this weekend as I prepare to become your Pastor to put forward Seven traits of Christ the Good Pastor as revealed in the Gospels. This is the kind of Pastor I will strive to be for you in the next six years. I know that in saying this, I sound like a politician making promises he never keeps, but I hope that isn’t the case! If you see me straying from this ideal, please feel free to point it out to me.

First off, the Good Pastor knows His sheep, as Jesus says in today’s Gospel. He doesn’t stay aloof from them, but is approachable, friendly, and available to them, especially to the young, the sick and the struggling.

I’m happy that over the past four years I’ve already come to know many of the families of our parish. I hope as Pastor that I’ll get to know you all even more.

And as Pastor I want to imitate Christ by continuing to be very involved with the youth of the parish and the school, to visit the sick and homebound, and to be available and approachable to all people of the parish.

The Gospels also show however, that while Christ was very available to people, He wasn’t always available. Which leads to the Second Trait: Jesus the Good Pastor always took time out each day to pray and have communion with God His Father.

And as Pastor, I want to continue to make top priority my daily prayer life: Holy Hour, the Breviary (the official daily prayers of the Church prayed by clergy and religious), and the Rosary (Daily Mass will of course be a given in this parish).

The third mark of Jesus the Good Pastor is His Simplicity of Life. Jesus chose to be born in a Manger and throughout His life he lived simply and not extravagantly. I’ve always tried to live simply and to be a wise steward of finances, and will continue to do so as Pastor please God.

The next three traits, four, five and six, are that Christ the Good Pastor is a Teacher in the Ways of Faith, Hope and Charity, a Moral Voice of Authority, and a Prophet who sometimes has to say unpopular or uncomfortable things that people nonetheless need to hear.

Please pray that I may especially be faithful in continuing to teach and explain the great truths of our Roman Catholic Faith in all their fullness, without ever watering them down or compromising them out of fear of being unpopular.

The seventh and final trait of Christ the Good Pastor is certainly the most important one of all: that is the Love He has for His sheep, even to the point of laying down His life for them.

Jesus loves them because as today’s Gospel says,
My Father . . . .has given them to Me.

The Good Pastor sees his flock as a great gift from God, and out of love for the Giver, He loves every one of them and lays down his life for them.

I thank God for the great gift of the priesthood, and now I also these days thank Him for the gift of serving Him and you as Pastor of St. Joseph Parish. May He give me the strength to love and serve you in imitation of the One Good Shepherd and Pastor of us all, Jesus His Son. God Bless.

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