4th Sunday of Easter (April 17, 2016)

4th Sunday of Easter (April 17, 2016)

 

There was a judge who was interviewing a woman regarding her pending divorce. 
He asked her, “What are the grounds for your divorce?”
She replied, “About four acres and a nice little house in the middle of the property with a stream running by.”
“No,” he said, “I mean what is the foundation of this case?”
“It’s made of concrete, brick and mortar,” she responded.
“I mean,” he continued, “What are your relations like?”
“I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband’s parents.”
He said, “Do you have a real grudge?”
“No,” she replied, “We have a two-car carport and have never really needed one.” 
Getting more exasperated the judge tried a new tactic. 
“Ma’am, does your husband ever beat you up?”
“Yes,” she responded, “about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do.’
Finally in frustration, the judge asked, “Lady, why do you want a divorce?”
“Oh, I don’t want a divorce,” she replied. 
“I’ve never wanted a divorce.  My husband does.  He claims he can’t communicate with me.”

 

Two old acquaintances, who hadn't seen each other for years, were walking down the street together, renewing old times. “Just a minute,” said one, “I think I hear something,” and turning a loose paving stone over he freed a cricket which was chirping merrily away.  “Why, that's astounding. Of all the people on the street at this hour, hurrying from work, you alone hear the cricket above all the traffic noises.”  “My friend,” said the first, “I learned a long time ago that people hear in life only what they want to hear. Now, the noise of traffic has neither increased nor decreased in the past few moments, but watch.” And as he finished speaking he let a couple quarters fall from his pocket to the sidewalk. Everyone within an amazingly large hearing distance stopped and looked around.

 

Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish.”  As we hear in Revelation, “For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water.”
 

This is a great promise and a great gift, born out of the loving union of the Holy Trinity flowing over into humanity.  Certainly this strengthened Paul and Barnabas as they encouraged others to listen to the word of the Lord and “remain faithful to the grace of God,” even as they faced distress and persecution.  But while we have confidence and reassurance in Jesus’ words that “No one can take them out of my hand,” we must choose to listen and to follow.  This can be difficult sometimes, especially considering all of the other voices that exist clamoring for our attention, distracting us from the voice of the true Shepherd.  Some of these are the noises and messages that surround us; some of these come from within us.  But only the voice of the Good Shepherd leads us to the fullness of life.  This voice calls out to us through prayer and quiet, through the Sacraments, through Scripture, through the deposit of faith in the Church, through the witness and example of others—all of which call for our openness and attention in order for them to be really fruitful for us in our lives, and to discern and live the calling/the vocation that God has for each of us.  It’s not automatic.  It takes some effort on our part.  But the Good Shepherd calls out to us to lead us to the joy of life lived in communion with God forever, now and forever.  May we be always ready to listen and to follow.