Deacon Jim at our Church is a gifted homilist. (By the way, for those of you not raised in the faith, or who may have been raised in a Protestant faith, a ‘homily’ is the same as a ‘sermon’.) He gave me permission to share his homily from a few weeks ago…
Keep in mind that it’s written as his notes to speak from, not to be read, so it may seem a little choppy, but you’ll get it.
Homily – Deacon Jim Hessler, Our Lady of Consolation, Rockford, MI.
4th Sunday Easter B – 2012 – First Communion Weekend
There are lots of shepherds out there…shepherds in the sense of the advisors, guides and voices that will influence our lives.
In the early part of our lives, our shepherds are chosen for us.
Parents, teachers, coaches, relatives, priests.
As we grow older we get to choose many of our own shepherds – and those we still can’t choose, we can choose to listen or not listen to them.
We choose our shepherds – the voices & influences in our lives.
Jesus is the shepherd who is always available to us to choose. He never imposes himself on us, but patiently waits to be asked.
While Jesus is the ultimate good shepherd, there are other good shepherds, other voices of good. But there are also shepherds that are not so good – voices we need to be wary of.
We always evaluate the goodness other shepherds against the Divine Good Shepherd.
Here is a shepherd that I have chosen to use from time to time – a GPS. Is it a good shepherd?
We always judge the goodness of our shepherds by how they compare to Jesus.
Top 8 reasons why a GPS is like Jesus, our Divine Shepherd
8. Whenever I plug it in and request its assistance, it is there. Jesus never forces Himself upon us. He wants to be asked.
7. It talks to me while I’m driving – I don’t have to think about it. Jesus can talk to us at any time, if we are willing to listen.
6. It knows where I am at all times. While the GPS might get this wrong, Jesus never will. He knows where I am and what I need.
5. If I make a mistake and get off track – it says “re-calibrating” and gets me back on course. Jesus can always redirect us onto the right path.
4. I can choose to ignore it. Jesus leaves that up to us.
3. If I don’t turn the volume down on the radio – interference – I can’t hear it. The world is full of noise. We come to Mass to turn down the noise in our lives.
2. When I have made a mistake and turn down the wrong road – “Turn around as soon as possible.” Jesus has given us the Sacraments as great opportunities to turn around. Jesus gives us a faith of forgiveness and new beginnings.
1. If the GPS is disconnected from the car for too long, what happens? It goes dead. The same thing might happen to us spiritually if we don’t stay close to Jesus and the Eucharist.
Jesus wants to be our choice, our shepherd, the voice we listen to.
We return to the Eucharist week after week to “recalibrate” – to recharge, to quiet the noise.
What we really need to be concerned with is not a GPS, not a global positioning system, but an EPS – an eternal positioning system. When we listen to the good shepherd’s voice we know we will be on the right track. Let us all pray that we will always choose Jesus to be our good shepherd.