Hearing and moving.

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice; 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.”

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

Today we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday as the fourth Sunday of Easter is always known. We encounter the shortest Gospel concerning the Good Shepherd, only four verses. In other years it is either eight or ten verses. Yet in these four verses we clearly see the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd – the Shepherd Who cares for and protects us, the Good Shepherd Who lives up to His promises and speaks to us.

Last week we heard about Jesus’ feeding of His Apostles by the seaside. He also spoke a command to them, and to us, that we are to feed and tend His flock.

Now, we should take a moment to check in. Did we hear what Jesus asked of us concerning tending and feeding? This is important.

Today’s gospel contains a great promise to all followers of the Christ. Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice!” He does not say we could hear his voice, or we should hear his voice, or we might hear his voice. Rather, Jesus is exceptionally clear that we do hear His voice.

As such, we should always be alert, awake, and ready to act on what God is speaking to us. It may sound strong… but if we are not hearing anything, if all we hear is silence, or if we ignore what we hear, then we are not walking in the Lord’s will. We have placed ourselves outside the sheepfold.

Think of it this way. When our moms called out to us, or call out to us, did or do we hear them? I can tell you from personal experience, when my mom wanted her will done, I could hear her, even down the block. Jimmy, Jimmy… I wanted to bury my head in the dirt, but the call and the request for a response were real. I responded.

That is what the Good Shepherd is saying. We cannot help but hear and if we are within the sheepfold we must then act.

We easily know God’s call to us because His voice is clear, right here in Holy Scripture, in Holy Tradition, in the Holy Spirit guided teaching of the Church. We indeed know God’s will and desire for us.

On top of that, we have the voice of the Holy Spirit we have each received. He leads us to the places He wishes and asks us to carry out the work He needs done: witnessing, serving, evangelizing, and more.

When the Good Shepherd’s voice is stirred in us His words are words of life. Jimmy must get up, get going and do. We all must so we may live in His sheepfold forever.

Moving forward.

When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.” Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

Good morning, Church! I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!

This passage taken from John, Chapter 21, verses 1 through 18 is just so beautiful. It encapsulates the gospel of our Lord and Savior in all its richness, all its joy.

The first part of this passage reveals how Jesus calls us, asks us to recognize Him, moves us from where we are to where we must be, and then gives us the great grace to draw many into the Kingdom.

Here we have a group of men just doing their thing. They were fishing, trying to get by. Many were fishermen to begin with, so they were comfortable back in this lifestyle.

But as happens with Jesus, He would not let them just remain there. They had far more important things to do.

The first thing we must do, as the Apostles had to do, is recognize Him. We must see the risen Lord and hear His call to us.

Like the Apostles, Jesus desires to move us forward in our Kingdom work. He does not want to leave us alone by the seashore (or anywhere else) fishing randomly and catching nothing. He rather infuses us with His grace to bring in an abundant catch; to gather people into the Kingdom and feed them with the Bread of Life – just as Jesus fed them by the seashore.

The second part of this passage reminds us that Jesus’ love and forgiveness is so much greater than our faults, failings, unworthiness, and sinfulness.

Peter, on the night Jesus was betrayed, despite all his protestations of being a great and brave follower of Jesus, one who would die with Him, rather took the course of denying Him. ‘I do not know Him.’ he said.

Certainly, the pain of that great sin weighed on Peter. We recall that the gospels tell us that Peter wept bitterly after his betrayal. Similarly, our sins should weigh on us. We should weep, not just for the great sins we commit, but for every little betrayal of our Lord, every way we fail to measure up in living the gospel life and evangelizing.

Like with Peter, our lLike with Peter, our love response to Jesus brings forgiveness, restoration, and a deeper commitment to doing all He calls us to – the tending and feeding of His flock for which we are all responsible as we follow Him.

He’s
hungry!

since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.

I read a very interesting article recently. It concerned the hungry Jesus. Sounds like the name of a great cooking show!

Jesus spent much time at meals. He did this in three ways.

At most meals, Jesus was the guest. He was invited by many. As an iterant Rabbi He relied on the hospitality and generosity of others. These meals were encounters with the hurt, broken, and lost. They were an opportunity to learn important truths. They were an opportunity wherein Jesus offered healing through His call to faith and conversion – change of life, rejection of sin.

The article points out that Jesus was rarely the host, and when He did host actual meals in time, excepting the feeding of the multitudes, He only fed those who were closest to Him.

The third type of meal Jesus offered was visions of the eschatological meal. This was the meal in the kingdom after the end of time, His return. Again, we return to a limited meal – open only to the prepared, the faithful, the wise who could enter the banquet.

In these three types of meals we see representations of Jesus’ hunger. 

Jesus’ hunger starts with His call to conversion, to invite all into the kingdom meal. He is hungry for each person’s participation in the kingdom life. But there are requirements to get in! Jesus had to teach those – and so He showed us the way. He told us that all are welcome to commit, to change, to become participants.

If we do as He asks, if we truly live as He models, we get to take part in the meal offered here this very Sunday – the Eucharistic banquet. Eucharist means thanksgiving and we should be very thankful for inclusion in this meal with Jesus. We also have the promise of the kingdom meal, full participation in heaven life.

Certainly, scripture shows us that Jesus was most hungry for unity of life with the Father and Spirit and our participation in that reality, that meal where love is perfected. We have gained access. Hungry?