1989 April 16 – 4th Sun Easter (Bulletin Letters)
Jn 10, 27 – 30
My Sheep Hear My Voice. I Know Them, and They Follow Me”. Jn. 10/27
This week’s Gospel is from John and comes from the Good Shepherd chapter. The image of Jesus as a Good Shepherd is one of the oldest and most familiar images of Christ in our tradition. Anyone who has ever worked with sheep know that they are not the most intelligent animals in the world. Sheep need direction. Without a shepherd, they are lost. Once the shepherd has been established, the sheep will follow and they will remain loyal. Even in unfamiliar territory, the sheep will follow their shepherd’s direction. This seem to be the point Jesus is making in today’s gospel text. No matter what the adversity, no matter how hard the evil one tries to ‘snatch’ one of Jesus’s flock, he will not succeed. For when we hear the voice of Christ and Jesus comes to know us in our inner most being, we must follow him.
Such words of confidence must have meant alot to the early Church. Our Easter season readings from the books of Acts and Revelation documents a first century Church that knew much suffering and persecution. An underground and outlawed Church who placed all their trust in the Master. A church that did not hedge its bet, giving everything to the Lord. It was clear from the start that Jesus saw the world differently. His mission put him on a collision course with the status quo. He made powerful enemies and it cost him his life. To be a follower of Jesus means embracing the same countercultural mission and risking the same personal consequences.
I wonder these days how truly confident we are in letting Jesus be our one and only shepherd? Modern society pulls at us in so many directions that following the way of Jesus is just one of many options we can take. Such mixed loyalties were unacceptable in the early church. They are no more acceptable today.
89 04 16
SAC OFFICER VISITS RECTORY: Lt. Dennis Hanley, USAF, visited the rectory last Wednesday night to present the ‘other side’ to St. Anne’s High School CCD group. Fr. Dennis is a Catholic Chaplain at Offut Air Force Base. He was asked to share his reasons for joing the Air Force. It was a good session. I first met Fr. Dennis at a priest gathering in Omaha. There is no doubt about it, we both see the world very differently, yet we are both Roman Catholic priests. We are brothers in Christ, living our faith commitments as best we can. As I listened to Fr. Dennis, I found myself sitting on my hands and biting my lips to keep still, as he laid out his position on nuclear weapons, U.S. military policies and why he believed that peace must be maintained. We truly disagree on many of these matters. We also deeply respect each other in our different approaches. One point where Fr. Dennis and I agree completely is that the true and lasting peace, the peace that Jesus offers, will only come about through a conversion of Hearts. In this we are one. We simply are taking two different approaches in calling forth the conversion necessary for Christ’s lasting peace.
I want to thank Fr. Dennis for coming and sharing with us. Now, maybe, Fr. Dennis can get me invited to one of his groups at SAC. We’ll see…