St. Dominic Catholic Church

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The Voice of the Good Shepherd 2022-5-8 Fr. Roberto



Homily for 4th Sunday of Easter + Mother’s Day – Year C
Fr. Roberto Corral, OP
St. Dominic’s Church, Eagle Rock, CA
May 8, 2022

Title: The Voice of the Good Shepherd
Theme: Of all the voices speaking to us, we must listen to and follow the voice of Jesus the Good Shepherd.
Readings: Acts 13:14, 43-52; Revelation 7:9, 14b-17; John 10:27-30

If you think about it, there are a lot of voices that speak to us every day: the voices of our family, friends, teachers, coaches, bosses, co-workers, neighbors; voices on our phones, on TV, radio, social media, the Internet; voices from our government, from the Church and from other institutions. Then, in addition to all those voices coming at us from “out there” every day, there are also the voices that come to us from “in here and in here,” i.e., the thoughts in our heads and in our hearts. That is a lot of voices we hear each day. And one of our most important daily tasks is to decide which of these voices we will listen to or not listen to, which of these voices are true and which are helpful or not helpful. And, most importantly, for us as Christians, we need to discern which, of all these voices, is God’s voice speaking to us. 

The Fourth Sunday of Easter each year is called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the Gospel this day is always about Jesus being our good and loving shepherd. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that one of his important duties as our Good Shepherd is to speak to us. In fact, our Gospel today began with these five words: “My sheep hear my voice.” 
First of all, it is truly a blessing that Jesus speaks to us. And he speaks to us, not just once in a while, not just when we are good, not just when we are in church; rather, he speaks to us all the time! The question is, are you and I listening for his voice, the voice of the Good Shepherd? 

As I said earlier, there are so many voices “out there” and “in here” speaking to us; 
and, of all those voices, the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the most important voice for us to listen for, to listen to and to follow. So, out of all those voices around us and inside of us, how do we know which is the voice of the Good Shepherd? Well, one of the blessings of being Catholic is that our Church has been around for 2,000 years, and there is a lot of wisdom we Catholics have garnered during that time in regards to hearing the voice of Jesus. Our Catholic Church teaches us that Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, speaks to us, most importantly and directly, through our conscience, which is the voice of God in the very depths of our heart. Jesus usually speaks to our conscience in five ways: through our prayer, through the Bible, through our Catholic Church, through our loved ones and through the circumstances of our lives. In my message in today’s bulletin, I briefly describe how Jesus speaks to us in each of those five ways, so I won’t go over them at this time.

Rather, what I want to talk about now is what I believe the Good Shepherd says to us. 
I think Jesus says lots of things to us, but the first and most important thing Jesus says to you and me every day are the three words, “I love you.” Simple and straightforward; 
he says it to us all the time in the very depths of our being: “I love you.” No matter who you are or where you are, no matter what is going on in your life, no matter what you have done or should have done or should not have done, and, whether you hear it or not, Jesus is saying to you, again and again, “I love you.” Jesus is saying that to you right now; can you hear him? I invite you to close your eyes for a few seconds and imagine him saying that to you right this moment: “I love you.” 

And, I believe Jesus is saying “I love you” to Vladimir Putin right now. I’ll bet Jesus is trying to say a lot of other things to him too; things that are challenging, things that Vladimir Putin does not want to hear and is probably not listening to. But Jesus is speaking to him anyway, and the most important thing Jesus is saying to him is, “I love you.” And the same goes for everybody: Jesus speaks to the heart of every person in the world, saying “I love you;” he says it to the homeless, to tiny unborn babies in their mothers’ womb and to old people with Alzheimer’s, to legal immigrants and to illegal immigrants, to Catholic couples who are married in the Church and to those who are not, to Republicans and to Democrats, to the victims of violent crimes and to the perpetrators of those same violent crimes, to the generous and to the selfish, to people of faith and to atheists, and on and on.

And the second thing I think Jesus says to you and me and everyone all the time are three other words, “You are beautiful.” The world may tell you otherwise; you may think otherwise yourself; unfortunately, perhaps some members of your family, social media, bullies at school or work, people that dislike you may tell you that you are ugly, a sinner, stupid, useless, a mistake, etc. But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks the truth, and he says to you: “You are beautiful.” Whether you are straight or gay or lesbian or transgender or not sure who or what you are, Jesus says to you again and again, “You are beautiful just the way you are; you are unique, you are special, you have a lot to give and a lot to live for. You are beautiful, and I love you.”

One of the best ways we can hear Jesus say these tender, important and affirming things to us is by praying. Jesus most often speaks to us in quiet whispers deep in our hearts. The First Book of Kings in the Old Testament calls it “a still, small voice.” That is why the deepest form of prayer is silence. So, try to spend some time daily where you turn off all the electronic devices; turn off all the noise and go to a quiet place. 
And, when you pray, do not spend all your prayer time talking, saying prayers or reading a devotional book or even the Bible. Spend at least some time simply being quiet, 
doing nothing but resting in the Lord’s presence and listening for his voice in your heart. 

On this Mother’s Day, I want to finish by talking to you mothers, grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, sisters, teachers, coaches, mentors and all of you women who have fulfilled a mother’s role for others. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I realize that not all of us have had good relationships with our mothers; however, it is often a mother, or another woman who is a mother-figure, who is the key person in affirming, supporting, encouraging, loving and caring for us. Thank you, women, for your dedication, love, patience and perseverance in being so often the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, 
for all those who need you and look up to you. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

My brothers and sisters, may all of us listen for, listen to and follow the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.