Sunday, April 25, 2010

Three Steps to heaven

The Fourth Sunday of Easter
John 10:27-30
Three Steps to Heaven

I want to focus your attention on the first two sentences of the gospel reading.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.
The gospel reading for the fourth Sunday of Easter focuses on the relationship between a shepherd and his flock. A subject many of us find unfamiliar, but very familiar to the gospel writers audience.
Familiar or not there are several lessons for us today living far from the tranquility of a pasture filled with sheep and a shepherd.
My Sheep Hear My Voice
God constantly speaks to us trying to get our attention. The problem is that the world is seeking our attention as well. In addition to the numerous voices trying to get our undivided attention the sights and sounds become jumbled and confusing.
The world screams at us to try this or that while God whispers I love you. Do you hear God whispering your name? To give ourselves a chance to hear God we need to shut out the noise of the world and spend a few moments each day in silence.

I Know Them
A shepherd and his sheep have a special relationship. The sheep know the voice of the shepherd and respond only to him.
God knows his children better than they know themselves. The question is not how well God knows us but how well we know him. Are we so familiar with our shepherd that we are not fooled if a false shepherd speaks to us?
They Follow Me
To me this is a natural response. We hear the shepherd’s voice he knows us we know him and follow.
It may be natural for sheep to follow a shepherd but we lose our way from time to time. God has provided physical signs for us to follow. The sacraments immediately come to mind. By definition a sacrament is an outward physical sign instituted by Christ to provide grace. But I want to expand the signs to include things we see every time we attend mass.
The holy water font is a sign of the beginning of our faith journey.
Pictures of the Holy Father and the local Bishop we are members of a global Church.
The presence of the priest at mass is a sign for us to follow. This is the year of the priest and today is the world day of prayer for vocations.
The tabernacle is a sign of Christ’s true presence for us and a reminder for us to follow our shepherd.
My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me.
Our prayer this week to hear his voice, get to know him better and to follow him.