Homily for Good Shepherd Sunday, 2018
  
Good Shepherd Sunday
The 4th Sunday of Easter, April 22nd 2018

From the Readings of Acts 4:8-12, Psalm 118, John 3:1-2, John 10:11-18
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFM
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Order Franciscans Reformed Catholic Church
www.missionstsergius.org   www.orderfranciscansofmercy.org

This Sunday is called GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY because of the Gospel reading from John. In the readings for this Sunday we have a very strong encouraging affirmation of God’s infinite mercy and love for all His children.
The first Reading from the Acts of the Apostles has Peter filled with the Holy Spirit telling the people that the crippled who was healed was healed in the name of Jesus Christ. Peter goes on further to tell people that Jesus is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. Salvation is found in no one else.”
The Gospel acclamation proclaims what the readings tell us: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
This message is a strong reminder that there is but one church, and one head of the church, and it is Jesus Christ, all others are the servants of God who have been given the responsibility to care for the flock, Those who believe that Jesus was the son of God, sent to bring a new covenant and teach us the way to achieve everlasting life with the father and heavenly elect.
Sadly, there are some in society that would prevent some people from having a close relationship with God and have even refused to Baptize a child just because it was born out of wedlock. Recently there was a story our of Rome where Pope Francis heard of a case where a Bishop, of all things, refused to Baptize a child because it was born to a single parent, Pope Francis contacted the parent and Baptized the child, by doing this, he exemplified “The Good Shepherd” all clergy are called to be since they are the Hands and feet of Christ on this earth now.
 John also makes it clear that eventually we will find that God views us all with the same regard and infinite love and accepts and welcomes us into His presence if we have lived THE GREAT COMMANDMENT.
Christ, as the son of God, came to this earth to shepherd us or guide us on a safe journey to heaven. He did this by clarifying the Old Testament teachings, not setting them aside, but letting us know exactly what God desired from us.
In John’s gospel, read the following; “I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 
In another part of the Gospel of John Christ told us;
John’s Gospel confirms that Christ came not for the few, but for ALL.
On this fourth Sunday of Easter we are being called by God to open our hearts and minds and free them from manmade prejudices and regulations that discriminate against any of God’s children.
We are called also to forgive those who discriminate against us because they have not fully opened their eyes to God’s inclusive love and are still living in the darkness of ignorance brought on by misinterpretation and translation of scripture from the original languages the books were written in.
Just as the people who refused to accept Christ as the promised of the ages and dismissed his call to have mercy and compassion for the poor, sick, aged and infirmed and to reach out to the entire human race with friendship and love we must not follow their example.
We need to welcome ALL God’s children regardless of their race, creed, nationality, marital situation or sexual orientation and recognize them as children of God and therefore our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We need to remember that Christ founded not many churches or beliefs but ONE belief which was handed down to us by the apostles who established the first “churches.
The Good Shepherd came to enlighten and guide ALL of God’s children.  Jesus would never let any of His sheep be scattered or driven from the flock because of discrimination of any kind.
We need to find a way to come together again as one faith, one church, and one family of God We need to stop all the bickering that has divided God’s family and make John 10:16 become a reality again; “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd”.
I close with the words from Psalm 23; The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.  Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Christ is the path to God and His infinite mercy and love is for all people.  AMEN