Summary: Mother’s Day and Good Shepherd Sunday, Cycle C
Mother’s Day and Good Shepherd Sunday
One man tells about working at a club on the weekend of the biggest motorcycle gathering of the year. When the roaring machines pulled up outside, the patrons of the club turned their eyes toward the door and the conversation turned into an uneasy whispering.
A group of tough looking bikers entered the club. He says one of them walked up and asked where the courtesy phone was. When the biker got to the phone and entered the number, the silence in the room let everybody overhear what the biker said, which was:
"Hi, Mom. Just want to let you know I'll be home late tonight."
It’s Mother’s Day and Good Shepherd Sunday, so on this occasion, I have three sheep stories that exemplify the Gospel message.
1. I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27
Farmers put identifying paint marks on their sheep for identification when pastures are shared by different shepherds because a customized painted sheep is easy to identify. Kind of like mothers, in a larger household, color-coding children’s sippy cups, socks, etc.
In northeastern England, a writer there, Valerie Laws, received a public arts council grant of $ 4000 to create a living poem with living sheep. She spray-painted a single word onto the back of every sheep. As the sheep wander about, the words take on a new poetic form every time they come to rest.
God wants to write poetry with our lives and not a jumbled mess. In number 89, the Catechism says that there is a connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas of the faith. Church teaching on faith and morals are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. If our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith.
[follow what your mother says].
2. The second sheep story is about hearing the voice of the Shepherd and following--
A lady said that her sister lives in Niger, in West Africa, a place where the shepherds definitely lead their sheep rather than driving the sheep from behind. They once went to a local shepherding competition where one of the challenges was for two shepherds to run with their flocks following after each of them, arranged in such a way so that the two flocks crossed paths. The winner was the one whose sheep all followed them and didn't join the other flock.
Bob’s Famous Ice Cream Parlor in Bethesda, Maryland, was robbed, but manager Nathan Peabody was warned in time. Moments before the robbery he was contacted by telephone. The voice said, “Are you the manager? Listen carefully; don’t panic. This is the police. You are going to be robbed. Do NOT resist. Let the robber have your money. We will be waiting right outside your store and we need to catch him with the money on him. Thank you for your cooperation.”
Sure enough, a man with a scruffy beard and a knife came in demanding money. Mr. Peabody took all of his cash out of the drawer and gave it to him. Peabody watched as the robber left the store, waiting for the cops to close in. Instead, the robber just got in his car and drove away. And as he saw the taillights disappear in the distance he realized what had just happened. He realized that the call hadn’t come from police headquarters after all. But from the thief.
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
We heard in our Gospel today, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.” John 10:28 No one can take us out of God’s hand, unless we jump out ourselves. Our First Reading from Acts 14:23 says that Paul and Barnabas told the converts to remain faithful to the grace of God, which urges us to cooperate daily with such divine guidance and assistance.
3. The last story is from a lady who said, “my daughter lives in a small town in Wyoming. One summer, the kids were allowed to adopt the orphaned lambs, and raise them. After several months, the adults forgot about the program and rounded up these adopted lambs with the rest of the flock as all the sheep were led out to summer pasturage. The children were heartbroken, so the adults (expecting failure) took the kids up to where the sheep all were. The kids stood around the herd, each called the lamb they'd raised--and all those adopted lambs raised came running to the sound of their master's voice.
Julia Cameron wrote, “When do we, like sheep, go astray? For me, anyway, it often starts with something small, something embarrassing, not criminal, that barely seems worth troubling God about. And then it grows and festers. I’m in one of those places now, trying to figure out what words I would even give to this in confession.”