Homily: 4th Sunday of Easter
I read about a fisherman in Colorado named Koke Winter. He was walking along the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River when several sandhill cranes flew overhead. He looked up to watch them, stepped into a gopher hole and broke his leg. The injury was a spiral fracture – a typical skiing accident. So at the hospital, even though it was summer, the physician asked, “So how was the skiing?” Koke replied, “I don’t go in for sissy sports. I’m a trout fisherman.” Recounting the incident later, Koke said, “When you’re walking along the river and sandhill cranes fly overhead – stop walking first… THEN look.” Good advice to follow?
I used to be a PIAA swimming referee. At one swimming meet I watched a young 8-year-old girl finish a race. She was exhausted but her 300 pound dad was yelling at her and telling her what she had done wrong in the race. I frankly thought the dad should try a few laps in the pool first before he gave advice.
When it comes to accepting advice, whose voice do you follow?
There are stories about the many shepherds who brought their small herds to Jerusalem during the time of Christ. These various flocks were kept together in one big sheepfold. There were no brands, no markings of any kind, just a fuzzy mob. How, you might ask, did each shepherd retrieve the sheep that belong to him (or to his boss)?
Brother Pierre is a Benedictine monk from Mount Saviour near Elmira, NY. He is the chief sheep-keeper at the monastery. I’ve watched his in action and how the sheep flock to him when they hear his voice.
One way that the good shepherd know his sheep is that he calls them by name. Like the story to which I reference above, he can identify the one with the nick in its ear or the one with the pretty face or the one that limps. To him, each has a personality, each one is special, each one, when they hear his voice, come and follow.
Second, the sheep not only recognizes its name when it is called, but also the sheep can identify the actual, unique sound of the voice of the shepherd. It belongs to the one who flipped them back on their feet, who shielded them from wolves, who led them to fresh pastures instead of ones they had eaten down to nubs.
How do you recognize the voice of the shepherd?
Mark Zuckerberg recently recently commented on how Facebook needs to do more to try and bring people and the world together. He commented on the difference he is noticing in societies between an aligned vs. a misaligned life. He is hoping that Facebook might be able to bring people together who hear similar voices, can thus build relationships which listen to voices of need in the communities, and then go out into those community to address issues that help people.
Audio version of the homily is here: