Homily for 4th Sunday in Easter – I want to be a sheep

posted May 15, 2017, 1:05 PM by Church Office   [ updated May 15, 2017, 1:05 PM by Michelle Massung ]

            Today, Jesus explains that he is a good shepherd and gate keeper for his sheep.  He explains to the Pharisees that he loves and protects his sheep from thieves and robbers.  Well, if he says he is the Good Shepherd, what does that make his followers? It means that we are sheep.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I a not sure I like the idea of being a sheep.  Let’s face it, they are very dirty and smelly animals. They are not very intelligent and other than their wool, what good are sheep anyway?

            Yet, as I studied the role of the sheep at the time of Jesus, I had a little change of heart.

 If we look closer at sheep, you might change your perspective as well.  First of all, sheep were a very valuable animal.  They provided food, milk, skin, wool and even their horns were used for weapons and for making sounds. They were very low maintenance and were easy to raise.  They ate most any vegetation that was presented to them by the shepherd.  The sheep would follow the voice of the shepherd.  He would use his voice to call the sheep and they would follow him to the source of their food for the day.  Aren’t we too better off when we follow the voice of Jesus in our lives rather than being left up to ourselves? I know that when I followed my own way of thinking, I got into more trouble.  Sheep need to be protected and Jesus protects us by giving us his grace to resist temptation and if we do submit to the temptation, he is there to forgive us and bring us back to the flock.  The shepherd leads his flock to pastures of good food.  In the case of Jesus, he leads us to his own body and blood in the Eucharist.  It is food we need for our spiritual journey.  To the sheep, they think that they will never run out of food as long as the shepherd is present.  We too will never run out of the Eucharist that Jesus gives to us.  Sheep need to stay together for their warmth, and protection.  We too gather together as a community for the mass.  We come here to be led by the Word of Christ and fed by the Eucharist.  Sheep need to submit to the will of the shepherd.  They need to trust in him for their food and their survival.  He is willing to give up his life for them.  They are not smart enough to think on their own.  God knows what we need in our lives so much more than we will ever be able to understand.  His intelligence is so much greater than ours, yet, we try and tell him what we need.  We try to tell the shepherd how to guard the sheep, what we need to eat, and how we are to be guarded.  Yet, Jesus is the greatest example of being the good shepherd.  Are we willing to be good sheep?  I know this may have sounded a little corny but think about it, we need to be led, fed and protected in our spiritual lives and we have the greatest example in Jesus.  This week, I know many of us are living very active lives; lives where we think we are in control over.  Sometimes, this type of thinking leads to stress and anxiety.  Maybe it is time to change the way we approach our life and be more like a sheep and be led by the shepherd.  They certainly don’t seem to be very stressed out in their daily activities.  Even if a wolf appears, they trust that the shepherd will take care of them, or if they get lost, he will find them.  I certainly could use less stress in my life.  How about you?  This week, try and be more like a sheep and see if it works for you too.